Surgeon Defines Health and Fitness

The Health Fitness Revolution team is proud to announce our new contributing author, Dr. Mark Henry, MD who has been one of the dearest friends to our founder Samir Becic for over a decade. Dr. Henry is an orthopedic surgeon at the top of his field, and currently practices health and wellness at the Hand & Wrist Center of Houston, TX.  Not only is he a medical doctor, but he is also an avid fitness enthusiast, which makes him a perfect addition to the Health Fitness Revolution family.  Enjoy his first article:
As an orthopedic surgeon by profession whose favorite pastime is health and fitness, I will be writing a series of articles for HFR magazine explaining the orthopedic science behind health and fitness.  We will move from general topics to more specific.  Readers are encouraged to frequently refer to previous articles as background.  We all have slightly different concepts of what health and fitness mean.  One dictionary definition of health is “soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment“.  One dictionary definition of fitness is the “capability of the body of distributing inhaled oxygen to muscle tissue during increased physical effort”.
My definition of health relates to the body being free of disease.  My definition of fitness relates to the body being capable of responding to meet physical challenges in either sport or work.  In my view, health and fitness are not synonymous, but overlap.  For example, I watched a young man with type I diabetes, so severe that he requires a continuous insulin pump, perform amazing feats of athletic prowess.  There is no question that he has a reduced state of health with one of life’s most unfortunate medical diagnoses (no fault of his own), but his level of fitness is truly amazing.  On the other hand, there are individuals that do not demonstrate a single abnormality on a comprehensive medical exam and yet are totally incapable of even the simplest athletic feat.  They are healthy but not fit.
*Another way of addressing this question is by examining common recommendations.  For instance, studies show that 1-2 glasses of red wine each day contribute to improved cardiovascular health.  On the other hand, alcohol is a highly caloric beverage that does not fit well into a fitness diet plan and has been shown to reduce the beneficial effects of training if consumed soon after a workout.  Thus, wine is thought to be good for health, but not necessarily for fitness.  The opposite can be said for red meat.  Generally detrimental to cardiovascular health (particularly coronary artery disease), red meat consumption is typically part of training diets geared to developing lean muscle tissue for athletic performance.  You get the idea.
*Looking forward, I will mostly leave the discussion of diet and metabolism to the other doctors who are part of HFR, and start to concentrate on how my field of expertise, musculoskeletal medicine, interacts with fitness training strategies.  However, before we get too specialized, in the next issue I want to review some basics for setting up a successful training regimen that will serve as a basis for everything that follows.
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Dr. Mark Henry, MD
After more than twelve years in this sub-specialty, Doctor Mark Henry cares for more patients with these conditions each year than many surgeons see in an entire career. Having earned the Top Medical Graduate award from Duke University in 1992 (ranked a top-five medical school) and the nation's highest score on the 10-year maintenance of certification examination in 2011, Dr. Henry is considered an international expert in hand surgery. Ranging from relatively simple procedures such as carpal tunnel release, all the way to the most complex microsurgical reconstructions, Dr. Henry has more than 90 peer-reviewed publications and presentations in the world's leading textbooks, journals, and professional societies.

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