I'm looking for a word (or short phrase) that describes a continuum of health, without using the word "health" (or the word "wellness"). We are developing a construct that places people on a continuum depending on their physical state. At the far right, extremely high level, task specific, physically demanding jobs/hobbies that require physical optimization; at the far left, individuals who present with complex disease states which severely impact health and physical functioning. My suggestion is "health-performance continuum" but my colleague dislikes this use of the word health.

  • Are you really asking about "health" at all, or is the relevant metric here something better described as "physical capacity" (to perform whatever tasks the individual wants or is expected to carry out)? For example, a world-class marathon runner and a world-class weight-lifter may both be very healthy, but if they switched events they probably wouldn't be world-class any more. How would such cases be treated in your "construct"? Do they become "less healthy" if they switch? Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 22:20
  • Why does your colleague dislike health?
    – p.s.w.g
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 23:50

5 Answers 5


Consider fitness

the condition of being physically fit and healthy: disease and lack of fitness are closely related





  • 2
    It would be helpful to provide definitions or usage examples explaining how these words differ from each other and from health and wellness.
    – choster
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 22:39
  • 1
    OP is looking for synonyms - I prefer to leave spoon-feeding definitions to patronisers.
    – user49727
    Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 1:41
  • Then OP should consult a thesaurus.
    – choster
    Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 14:36

"Bodily Condition" might be the phrase you are looking for. It is self explanatory.



Not so common these days but fits the bill.


the physical makeup of the individual especially with respect to the health, strength, and appearance of the body

Source: Merriam-Webster


How about physical ability?

the ability to perform some physical act

You get a continuum from physically disabled through normal ranges to the particularly strong and able.

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