What are the 5 components of Total Fitness?

  • Physical
  • Mental and Emotional
  • Medical
  • Nutritional
  • Social

There are many circumstances that could make any of these components of total fitness difficult, some quite obvious like Genetics, Age, Gender and Physical disabilities.

Others, are not so obvious like your diet, your mental attitude, your lifestyle habits (smoking, drugs alcohol) and your ACTIVITY LEVEL.

Let’s start with:


When it comes to flexibility some people have a real genetic advantage as they, like their parents, just naturally have larger ranges of motion with their knees, shoulders, back, and other joints and areas.

If your parents are obese, you run a higher risk of following in their footsteps.

Even Coordination can be passed down by genetics.

Your fibre type can be hereditary…If you have more slow-twitch fibres, you will be able to perform endurance-related activities, and if you have more fast-twitch fibres you might bulk up easily.

If osteoporosis runs in your family, you may be at a higher risk of developing the disease and other bone structure issues. There is even research to suggest that you can have a genetic advantage over cardio fitness .

And what about your physique?

People are born with an inherited body type based on skeletal frame and body composition. Most people are unique combinations of the three body types: ectomorph, mesomorphs, and endomorphs.

Ectomorphs are long and lean, with little body fat, and little muscle. They have a hard time gaining weight.

Mesomorphs are athletic, solid, and strong. They’re not overweight and not underweight and can both gain and lose weight without too much effort.

Endomorphs, on the other hand, have lots of body fat, lots of muscle, and gain weight easily.


Another fact to consider is Age.

When we talk age and exercise we automatically think about the older generation but let’s talk youth.

Youth (14- 16)

Something to consider with this age group is the growth plate … the area of tissue near the ends of long bones in children and teens that determines the future length and shape of the mature bone. 

As the body is still growing and bones are continuing to get stronger, we don’t want to put unnecessary strain on the joints and limbs of the young teenagers so avoid excessive training, high impact exercises. Teenagers can also be quite self-conscious and body aware so this is worth thinking about when we introduce them to certain class formats, poses and exercises.

Teenagers can struggle with co – ordination as they can sometimes be out of proportion whilst going through the growth spurt.

Although they have smaller heart chambers young adults have a good aerobic capacity but a poor anaerobic ability as they have fewer stores of creatine phosphate so it’s best to avoid high impact or intensity sports that demand that pathway.

And whatever they do, they must stay hydrated and cool!

Cool as in, no overheating .. they are more sensitive to heart stress due to expending more energy than an adult.


Older Generation

  • During middle age, physical activity can decline and there’s a 5-10kg increase in body fat.
  • Your maximum heart rate declines, and your maximum oxygen uptake also declines by about 1% per year and as you now know …oxygen uptake is crucial as most of your muscle energy is made by combining oxygen with the fuel in your body.
  • The mass of fast twitch muscle fibres declines, and fast twitch musles are needed to produce power for high intensity exercise. This declines sharply between the ages of 31-40 (about 3% per annum), and then continues to decline at about 1% per annum after that.
  • There is also a loss in bone mass and bone density and cartilage becomes thinner leading to stiffness in movement.

So there are quite a few issues here that we need to consider when planning a purestretch class. Is the pose comfortable? suitable? safe?

We will cover this in more detail in the Become a purestretch Instructor training.


We also need to consider Gender:

There are a few differences between men and women worth considering within the Total Fitness category such as Body Shape and Composition.

Males usually have higher levels of muscle mass than women. They can be bigger, with larger bones leading a higher demand that creates larger hearts and lungs. There are also increased levels of testosterone soaring through their bodies during puberty, which also plays an important role in the bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength, and the production of red blood cells.

Females can be more flexible than men because of the slight structural difference in their bodies such as a wider pelvis.


Physical Disabilities

Did you know that there are approximately 8-10 million disabled people in the UK and this includes disabilities like:

  • Cancer
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Impaired Sight
  • Impaired Hearing
  • Obesity
  • Depression

The list goes on, and you begin to realise that it’s not always obvious when someone has a disability, but one of the many things we all have in common and that is the need to exercise.

Regular physical activity will not only offer the health benefits but can really improve someone’s social life, self-esteem and independence.

We have discussed the obvious factors that will affect a person’s ‘Total Fitness’  but what about factors that we can really do something about?


Diet can contribute to how you look and how you feel.

Too many of the wrong foods can put you at risk, but the right foods complemented by appropriate exercise can boost your body’s ability to fight disease.

Try to balance items like dairy and oils, along with meats and poultry. Try to avoid sweets, overly salty foods, trans fat-heavy foods and overuse of alcohol. Pay attention to calorie count – the amount required will be based on your size, age, and gender.

Mental Attitude

Chemicals in the brain called “endorphins” make you feel happy and positive, and these are triggered by most forms of exercise.

There is nothing harder when you are feeling low than trying to motivate yourself to get out there and exercise but the effects are instant and worth it.

Participation in regular exercise can increase your self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety, and can play a part in preventing the development of mental health problems.

Lifestyle Habits

Cigarettes, drink, and recreational drugs will reduce your physical potential by affecting the nervous system, blood pressure, oxygen intake ability. This can also increase your anxiety which increases your stress levels and make you feel low. Even to the point of suffering with depression, and when you experience this this … you have zero motivation for any level of activity.

Activity Level

If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are hugely increasing your risk of poor health. We’ve already said how exercise can lift your spirit so obviously a lack of it can really have a poor impact on your positive attitude

Active people who exercise regularly such as walking, cycling, dancing or attending classes have a much better chance of living a healthy life not just in body but also mind…

What is considered Active?

Less active:  You average less than 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

Moderately active: You average 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

           ActiveYou average more than 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

Note: Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving.

A quick note:

Pre and Post Pregnancy

There’s a lot going on in the body in preparation for the birth of the baby which can have quite an impact on mum, such as :

  • Increased heart rate.
  • Increased laxity of joints.
  • Prone to dizziness.
  • Increased body temperature.

And then after the birth, new num may suffer from:

  • Breast tenderness.
  • Water retention affecting the wrists and ankles.
  • Weak core.
  • Stress incontinence
  • Fatigue

Although it is recommended for healthy pregnant women to exercise, you must complete a qualification specific to this group so you can offer all the alternatives suitable for a mum to be and a new mum.