Did you know that over 42 percent of the American population is obese? And unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about weight loss that make it difficult for people to set and achieve their long-term health goals.
Thankfully, professionals in the medical and health industry are shifting their focus from BMI to body composition and helping their patients to do the same. But, do you know the difference between these health terms?
Unlike body mass index (BMI), body composition considers your muscle mass. That means that someone who weighs the same as you and is the same height may have more body fat and less muscle, making them more likely to suffer from health issues.
In this post, you’ll learn more about body composition and why it should be the focus of your fitness journey. So, keep reading!
Even the fittest individuals have some body fat, which is important for optimal health. It protects your organs and stores energy. Without it, your body wouldn’t be able to regulate hormone production and use.
Yet, having too much body fat is harmful to your health and can cause heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and cancer. Thus, it’s important to keep your fat percentage to healthy levels, according to your fitness goals.
- Essential body fat: 2-5% for men; 10-13% for women
- Athletes: 6-13% for men; 14-20% for women
- Fitness: 14-17% for men; 21-24% for women
- Acceptable: 25- 31% for men; 18-24% for women
Body fat levels over the acceptable ranges indicate obesity and can be detrimental to health.
Of course, in addition to fat, your body is made of bones, muscles, organs, tissue, and water. For most adults, the ideal bone percentage is about 3-5% of total body composition.
Meanwhile, muscle percentage varies depending on a person’s age and activity level. However, building your muscle mass is a great fitness goal since these tissues help you burn calories and shed fat, even when you aren’t exercising.
How to Measure Your Body Composition
After learning about all these fitness terms, you’re likely wondering how to assess your body composition. Unfortunately, you can’t do so on a traditional scale. However, there are a lot of methods you can use to learn about your body fat percentage.
Health professionals use these tools to measure the thickness of your skinfolds. These are pretty accurate when used correctly. However, if you’ve never used one before, there is room for error.
These machines test use air to test your body composition. The results are extremely accurate and can tell you a lot about your health. However, they may be expensive.
Body scanners are one of the quickest ways to learn about your body composition! Some use low-level x-rays to determine how much body fat, muscle, and bone you have. You may find these machines in gyms or even at clinics.
Learn More about Health Terms!
Knowing your body composition is a great way to gauge your fitness and health. Of course, you shouldn’t obsess about your body fat percentage either since this could lead to unhealthy habits and negative thoughts. But, when used properly, it’s a great tool for setting goals and tracking your progress!
Would you like to learn more about health terms? If so, browse more health and fitness content on our website!