Skills Based Measures of Fitness are B.S. CRAP!

Balance, Speed, Coordination, Reaction Time, Agility, Power!
Balance, Speed, Coordination, Reaction Time, Agility, Power!

In an earlier article I asked “what is fitness anyway?” and spoke to you about health based measures of fitness. Going beyond those very important dimensions of fitness I would like to tell you about skills based measures of fitness today.  Although they are sometimes considered to be ‘more advanced measures’ of fitness, they need not be considered to be so.

As with the health based measures of fitness, you can think of applying these skills based measures to your mental health. You can also think of them being applicable to other entities e.g. your business staff and processes, your army regiment or even you book reading club. Think about examples from your daily life as you read about these measures that follow:

Balance is your ability to control or stabilize your body when you are standing still or moving.
Speed is your ability to move your body or parts of your body swiftly.
Coordination is your ability to use all your senses together with your body parts during movement.
Reaction Time is your ability to respond quickly to what you hear, see, or feel.
Agility is your ability to change and control the direction and position of your body while maintaining a constant, rapid motion.
Power is your ability to move your body parts swiftly while applying the maximum force of the relevant muscles. So, power is a combination of both your speed and your muscular strength. Of course you can therefore have different levels of power in different parts of your body.

[I picked this order because “B.S. CRAP” is a mnemonic that should be easy for you to remember]

Does very little for my B.S. CRAP!
Does very little for my B.S. CRAP!

How is your B.S. CRAP?
If you remember, earlier, when I spoke about fitness, I had mentioned why gymnasts and martial artists are, in my opinion, the fittest of sports persons. It was because in addition to the health based measures of fitness their skills based measures of fitness are maintained at a high level. Of course, you can clearly see why all active sports players need to focus on the skills based measures of fitness.  In fact, if you are a chess player, you still need to think of these measures of fitness, at least in a mental and emotional sense. And, given the rise in recreational distance running around the globe, it is important that you understand that just being a recreational distance runner might do nothing much for your skills based measures of fitness. Do you have a friend who runs marathons but was injured (even without any collision) during a game of football or squash? Are you taking your yogasanas to a level where they are not just about balance and coordination?

Can afford a Ferrari - prefer to take the train
Can afford a Ferrari – prefer to take the train

Developing B.S. CRAP
We can develop these measures, or prevent them from wasting away, in the simplest ways in our activities of daily living. Think about what happens when you get that promotion at work, the accompanying pay rise, and switch from taking the bus/train to work to, now, getting chauffered to work in a comfortable car. Never mind that you are weakening your butt muscles and ruining your back with all that sitting, you are also giving up the free daily workout you had been getting when waiting for, or standing in, your public transport. Perhaps you are not better off when you get richer without getting wiser!

Agility, balance and coordination taken to a higher level
Agility, balance and coordination taken to a higher level

By now you will have probably figured out that you do not need to do some high intensity sport to develop these measures of fitness. The childish games you played in your playground require all of them – go play them again. And, almost any dance form will involve all of these. That latin dance class you have been pondering for a while… join it!

Be fit! Body and mind! Mind and body! Go physical!  Be mental!


Dr Purnendu Nath spends his waking hours focusing on helping individuals and organizations reach their goals, to make the world a better place. He speaks, writes and advises on topics such as finance, investment management, discipline, education, self-improvement, exercise, nutrition, health and fitness, leadership and parenting.


  1. That’s a pretty good article. I have been running since a few years and I realised that the risks associated with only running are quite high. I have found that mixing it up with strengthening sessions, flexibility workouts and all round body workouts helps avoid injuries related to running.


  2. Another great article , I would add dance which requires intense stamina and all these, even the simple fun ZUMBA which fitness pros may laught at , it is fast it is slow the steps change so fast , the rhythm , the choreo , you can’t do it without concentrating and you use every muscle in a class and move in every plane and direction possible. Any form of classical or even semiclassical dance is taking it to a level that is really unimaginably incredibly challenging . Our dance studio offers many courses and yes Latinotonics as well. Maybe one day! I have seen our teachers move and leap and bend and spin gosh they are fit and they are always smiling 🙂


    • Dear Jyoti
      I totally agree with what you said about Zumba…. I think regular Zumba at a fairly high intensity and/or for a long enough period is probably better for most humans than very long distance running.
      Thanks for your comments, and good luck with all the things you are pursuing.


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