The Target: Total Fitness

T otal fitness has been described in many ways. Most aptly, perhaps, it involves looking your best, feeling your best, and performing to the best of your ability. In the totally fit body stamina, strength, and flexibility have been brought to peak levels of development.

Total fitness may mean different things to different people. The level of fitness that a person can achieve varies with his or her physical or medical history. The level also depends on the person's height, weight, age, musculature, body type, and other characteristics. Thus, total fitness for any individual is the highest level of fitness to which that person can go, given the limitations imposed by the various factors.

Physicians and fitness experts agree that movement of some kind is mandatory for anyone who wants to achieve total fitness. Movement in the form of a planned, timed, repetitive program of exercise brings the human body to the goal of fitness in the shortest possible time.

Total physical fitness has many aspects. It calls for adequate rest and relaxation and it requires proper nutrition. The totally fit person has to follow sound health practices and have good dental and health care. Otherwise, fitness may prove difficult or impossible to achieve.

In broader terms, fitness brings many advantages and benefits to various aspects of a person's life. Fitness enhances an individual's ability to work with endurance and vigor and to enjoy work and leisure activities. A person who achieves total fitness can usually avoid undue fatigue, so that he or she has energy left for hobbies, recreation, and for meeting unforeseen emergencies.

Creating Your Own Exercise Equipment

Ensure Safety Underfoot

Because slippery floors can present major safety hazards, the footing should be tested and retested for safety. Carpeting helps unless the exercise program includes dance routines. In general, a tightly woven, looped-pile, industrial-grade carpeting is recommended. This kind of carpeting has one major advantage over cut-pile—shag or velvet surface—carpeting: the looped-pile type is more durable. Just incidentally, the looped-pile type is cheaper.

Climbing the Fitness Ladder

Three stages of fitness have been identified. The individual who stays with an intelligently devised program moves through beginning, intermediate, and advanced stages. These have been termed by some authorities the low, medium, and excellent stages or phases. Some experts add a fourth level: the elite stage at which a person finds himself able to take part in highly competitive and demanding athletic activities.

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