Let’s explore body composition in more detail- In the world of physical fitness, body composition refers to the percentages of body fat, bone, water and muscle in our human bodies. Someone can have a normal body weight, or even a low body weight, and still have an abnormal body composition (sometimes referred to as “skinny fat”) or someone can have a higher than “normal” body weight on the scale but high muscle and low body fat percentage.
Having a healthy body composition means having a relatively low level of body fat, with most of your weight coming from lean mass. Lean tissue (muscle) burns 15% more energy, even when sleeping, when compared to fat tissue. That means a person with more muscle will have a higher metabolism than someone of the same weight, height, gender and age who has a higher body-fat percentage. A person with higher lean mass will also have a lower overall risk for chronic disease and a lower risk for cardiovascular disease.
- What determines a healthy body composition?
A definition of a healthy body composition changes according to your age and gender. For example, women in their 20s should aim for a body fat percentage of 16 to 24 percent, while men in their 20s should have lower body fat levels, somewhere between 7 to 17 percent, according to guidelines developed by the American College of Sports Medicine.
The normal level increases as you age. A woman in her 50s should try to maintain a body fat level of 22 to 31 percent. It can be hard to get an accurate body fat measurement at home. Some scales claim to track body fat percentage but when compared to industry standards they are often inaccurate.
At our practice we have used an Omron model which is affordable and decently accurate. We have exciting news because next month we will be using the InBody570. This machine tracks segmental lean body mass, total pounds of fat, visceral fat, body fat percentage, water, whole body ECW/TBW ratio and BMR (www.inbody.com). This will allow us to help our members track their metabolism, levels of inflammation and strength gains as well as track overall body composition.
Remember the number on the scale does not determine your health! Start digging deeper to find out your body composition and stay tuned to our Facebook page, videos and blogs to learn more about how to improve your health and wellness!