You might think you have a pretty good handle on your overall health. You exercise regularly, eat relatively well, and generally feel good day to day. But there’s one important aspect of your health that you may be overlooking- your body composition.
Body composition is simply the ratio of fat to lean mass in your body. And while it’s not necessarily an indicator of weight or fitness level, it can give you a much more accurate picture of your overall health and metabolic age.
Here’s why body composition testing is so important- and how it can affect your health in ways you may not expect.
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Body Composition Testing – Why is it Important to Health
Most people have a general idea of whether they are at a healthy weight. However, the number on the scale is not necessarily the best indicator of health.
Your body weight is the sum of all the parts: fat mass and lean mass (muscle, bone, water, etc.). Your body composition- the ratio of fat to lean mass- can give you a better idea of your health risks than your weight alone.
Body composition is the analysis of the different parts that make up a human body, such as water weight, fat mass, muscle tissue, and bone density. In other words: it’s figuring out exactly what you’re made of.
Body composition analysis gives you a greater understanding of your weight by informing you about your body fat percentage, bone density, and lean muscle mass.
There are two types of fat: visceral and subcutaneous. Visceral fat is the “bad” type of fat that surrounds your organs and increases your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Subcutaneous fat is the “good” type of fat that helps insulate your body and store energy.
Most people have a higher percentage of subcutaneous fat, but it’s the visceral fat that is more dangerous to your health. Visceral fat is not only associated with an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes, but also with Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer.
Body composition testing can help you determine this body fat percentage so you can take steps to reduce it if necessary.
Bone density is an important part of body composition because it helps determine your risk of osteoporosis- a condition that causes bones to become weak and break easily. The higher your bone density, the lower your risk of osteoporosis.
Body composition testing can measure your bone density and help you understand your risk of developing osteoporosis.
Muscle mass is another important part of body composition because it helps determine your metabolism. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, so the more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be.
Body composition testing can help you determine your muscle mass so you can take steps to build muscle if necessary.
Body Composition Testing Methods
A body composition test is a way of assessing your body’s fat-to-muscle ratio (body fat percentage). There are a few different ways to test for body composition.
One common method is skinfold measurements, which use calipers to pinch different areas of your skin and estimate the thickness of your fat layer.
The most common method is bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). This method uses a mild electrical current to estimate body composition by the amount of water in your tissues (fat tissue has a lower water content than muscle tissue, so it impedes the current less).
There are also more sophisticated methods:
The more sophisticated methods are usually only done in research, medical or health facilities.
Why is Body Composition Testing Important?
Your body composition is one predictive way to give you a better idea of your health risks than your weight alone.
Carrying too much body fat percentage can lead to a host of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
On the other hand, having too little muscle mass can also put you at risk for health problems such as obesity, osteoporosis, and frailty.
Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy balance of fat and muscle mass. You may be surprised to learn that even if you are at a healthy weight, you could still be at risk for these diseases if your body composition is out of balance.
Whether you’re diligently engaging in self-care or collaborating with a doctor remotely, it’s critical to acquire an understanding of your body fat percentage and muscle mass. Body composition testing can assist you to recognize any potential risks, as well as take the necessary steps towards improving your overall wellbeing.
How Can I Test My Body Composition?
If you are interested in testing your body composition, there are a few options available. You can purchase the best home BIA device or visit a local fitness center or hospital that offers BIA testing.
Keep in mind that accuracy can vary depending on the device used, so it is important to choose a reputable device or testing center.
How to improve body composition?
Now that you understand how pivotal your body fat percentage is to your health and have a starting point, what comes next? Wouldn’t it be great to know how to improve this area?
If you want to refine your body composition, there’s no substitute for the basics: proper nutrition and regular exercise. For me, adopting a Ketovore diet has been nothing short of transformative!
Engaging in physical activity regularly can help you maintain your muscle mass and reduce fat.
Additionally, be mindful of the amount of sleep you get; inadequate sleeping habits may lead to amplified levels of body fat and reduced bad sleeping habits may lead to heightened levels of body fat and decreasing amounts of muscle mass.
When measuring body weight, having the right balance of fat and muscle mass is crucial for health. Please keep in mind what your numbers are so you can make sure you’re on track.
There are several ways you can test your body composition. Home BIA devices, fitness centers, and hospitals offer this testing type.
While the accuracy of results may vary, depending on which device is used for testing, usually a higher quality machine provides more accurate readings than one that’s cheaper. It does not matter if you opt to use the industry-leading machines or select from among home devices; what remains essential is getting tested!