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About Total Body Fitness

# Feel Good. Exercise makes you feel good, both physically and mentally. It gives you a psychological lift and strengthens your sense of accomplishment. The discipline associated with exercise also makes you feel good about yourself: “I feel good that I walked today,” or “When I run, I feel I have control over one area of my life.”

# Look Good. Regular exercise plays an important role in helping to reduce body fat and weight and to develop muscle. Fitness can give you a better-looking, better-proportioned body: a flatter abdomen, firmer thighs, and slimmer hips.

# Feel Younger. Increasing your activity level can reverse or slow the changes that many people think are simply the unavoidable results of aging. In reality, lack of exercise usually reduces flexibility, strength, blood vessel elasticity, and lung functions; slows reaction time and metabolism; and increases body fat between ages 30 and 60.

# Build A Stronger Heart. Regular exercise may help reduce or modify some of the risk factors associated with heart disease, such as high cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, obesity, and stress. A three-year study at the University of Toronto showed that people who exercised regularly after a heart attack had less than a 5 per cent chance of having a second attack, while those who were sedentary had 22 per cent chance.

Physical fitness has two extremes: the well-conditioned person at one end and the completely inactive individual at the other. To be well-conditioned, you need to work on the four components of physical fitness: Body Composition, Cardiovascular Fitness, Muscle Fitness, and Flexibility.

# Body Composition: Body composition is the ratio between body fat and muscle. Too much fat and not enough muscle may increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, gout, and arthritis and back problems.

# Cardiovascular Fitness: Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of the heart, blood, and blood vessels to transport oxygen to your muscles. A strong, efficient heart is important for stamina and may lower your risk of heart disease.

# Muscle Fitness: Muscle fitness is the strength, endurance and shape of your muscles. Good muscle fitness helps you maintain good posture; avoid lower back pain; and lift, carry, push, and press any objects. Regular exercise keeps your muscles well developed – an important ingredient in proper body composition. Calisthenic and weight-training exercises improve your muscle fitness. Aerobic exercises also can improve muscle fitness, although to a lesser extent.

# Flexibility: Flexibility is the range of motion possible at the joints of your body. Good flexibility helps you avoid lower back pain, plus joint, neck, shoulder, arm and leg injuries. Calisthenics, stretching exercises and yoga can help maintain or improve flexibility or suppleness.

GETTING OFF TO A GOOD START

Before you begin an exercise programme, discuss what you plan to do with your physician. Most physicians will adjust the programme according to your needs and health status.

Evaluate your physical fitness level before you start a fitness programme. Ask yourself the following questions for the evaluation:

CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS

Q #1: Do you exert yourself enough to work up a sweat for 20 minutes or more, three to four times a week?

Q #2: Are you physically active on the job? That is, does your work require you to move for at least 40 minutes non-stop, do vigorous physical activity, lift heavy objects?

BODY COMPOSITION

Q #3: Is your weight appropriate to standard height/weight charts?

Q #4: Are you satisfied with your body’s muscle tone and the way your body looks?

MUSCLE FITNESS

Q #5: Have you been free of lower back pain (backache) during the past 6 months?

Q #6: Have your waistline expanded less than one inch since age 18 (women) or 21 (men)?

FLEXIBILITY

Q #7: Can you easily touch your toes without bending your knees?

Q #8: Are you currently free from aches, pains or stiffness in joints such as neck, shoulders, lower back, hips, and knees?

In addition to your medical and fitness status, consider your weight and body type when starting a fitness programme.

BODY TYPES

Heavy: Substantial amount of fat with poor muscle development – usually very inactive.

Heavy Muscular: Substantial amount of fat with fair to good muscle development – usually formerly or occasionally active.

Thin: Very lean and very little muscle development – usually very inactive.

Now check the list below for guidelines on the best exercises for particular body types. But remember that there are always exceptions: some aerobic dancers are heavy and muscular, and some swimmers are thin. In general, the list highlights those activities from which you can expect the most success, the least frustration, and the best chance to staying with on the road to fitness. For example, a heavy person may not get the full benefit of jumping rope, running, or aerobics because of the stress that extra body fat puts on the legs.

# Heavy: Bicycling; Swimming; Brisk Walking

# Heavy Muscular: Aerobic Dancing; Bicycling; Racquet Sports; Swimming; Brisk Walking; Weight Training.

# Muscular: Aerobic Dancing; Bicycling; Racquet Sports; Jumping Rope; Running/Jogging; Climbing Stairs; Swimming; Brisk Walking; Weight Training.

# Thin Muscular: Aerobic Dancing; Bicycling; Racquet Sports; Jumping Rope; Running/Jogging; Climbing Stairs; Swimming; Brisk Walking; Weight Training.

# Thin: Aerobic Dancing; Jumping Rope; Running/Jogging; Climbing Stairs; Brisk Walking