Perceptions of fitness

I find this really interesting – everyone has an idea of where they sit on the fitness scale, and yet this perception is often vastly out of line with reality.

If we define the scale as running from sedentary lifestyle (drive to work, sit at a desk, drive home, sit on the sofa) as a 1, through to 10 being professional athlete, where would you put yourself? I often hear different versions of similar statements: “I’ve got the dogs to walk so I know I’m a lot fitter than many of my counterparts” (maybe placing themselves higher on the scale than they are?); “I can only run 10k, so I’m really unfit” (perhaps underplaying what they can do?); “I literally do no exercise” (only for me to discover they horseride/ dog walk/ do an active job).

I’m as guilty of it – I know I’m a slow runner, so I perceive myself to be less fit than those who run more quickly. Is that a fair assessment? Probably not. I can still run long distances, I can still swim and cycle further than many, but not as far as others. I’d position myself at a 5-6 on the scale. Where’d you put yourself? And where do you perceive me to be?

One thought on “Perceptions of fitness

  1. I’m 49 in September, only been running for 18months. I put myself at a 5/6. I have only run 124k
    this month. I’m entering my first marathon in a week and don’t run fast 9.45/10. I started off walking my 2 dogs and didn’t want to be a creaking door for my 3 children ( age 15, 11, 7) at the time I started.

    I find it hard as I have 2 bulgy discs and moderate facet wear on L4&5. I take brufen and co-codamol before every run. What started as a keep fit / healthy way of life is now dominating. I am.also a full time student nurse (2nd year) and manage around shifts, children, dogs, home life and being a wife!!! I love it and have only 10 days till my first marathon in Liverpool.
    Don’t want to be super woman just be healthy and hope it keeps the door from creaking!!!!

  2. I have competed in 2 iron distance races and training for a 3rd this year. I’m doing around 8-10 hours training per week but because I’m quite slow I definitely perceive my self as not as fit as faster triathletes. Maybe a 6??

  3. Good timing! I was at the pool this morning.. 3 lanes slow medium fast.. I’d always gone slow but this morning I stood and assessed the other swimmers speeds.. too fast for slow, eek! medium was slower than I wanted to aim for – I joined in with the 2 men in fast, wowzer I didn’t get in their way — I think we always understate ourselves – def but myself as a 5 it’s what makes us keep doing

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