Watching Your Body Fat Can Lead To Longer Healthier Life
If you want to live a long healthy life take heed of what your body fat says about you. The composition of the human body is made up of two types of tissue.
- Lean tissue - muscle, bone and organs that is metabolically active.
- Fat tissue - known as adipose tissue, which is inactive.
and it is the relationship between the two, the body fat ratio, that determines overall fitness and health.
To keep at the peak of physical health the composition of the human body must be kept in balance starting with maintaining an optimum lean to fat ratio and that is governed by staying with a healthy diet and regular exercising.
The average human body contains 70% of water by weight.
Oxygen is by far the most plentiful of the elements in the body, mainly as a component of water.
It is also an integral component of all proteins, carbohydrates, fats and nucleic acids.
Also present in minute quantities are the essential trace elements that include fluorine, copper, zinc, selenium and others.
Just as the ideal height to weight ratio varies between men and women so does the optimum fat to lean ratio.
However height to weight charts do not take into account fitness levels so it can only be a rough guide for the average person at best.
For example, a fit weight lifter could be considered overweight in relation to his height but may only have a body fat ratio of 8-10%
Ratio of fat content necessary for optimum health
- Women should have a minimum of 12 % and a maximum of 32%
- Men should be between 5 % at the lower end and 25 % at the top end.
Too much or too little body fat is harmful and can lead to health problems so whether you are a top athlete or more inclined to be a couch potato do try and keep within the limits.
Athletes will naturally tend towards the lower end of the scale but female athletes in particular should beware of dropping below 12 % as they become vulnerable to injury and diminishing performance as well as other health issues.
Lifestyle plays the biggest factor in determining the amount of fat stored in the body with inherited genetics also having an influence.
To create the right balance between too much and too little body fat watch your calorie intake and exercise levels.
Too great a ratio means you should cut down on your calorie intake and take up an exercise regime.
One of the best is to combine aerobics with weight training.
If the ratio is too low then eat more and cut back on energetic pursuits.
A good average is 15-18% for men and 22-25% for women.
How is Body Fat Measured?
There are several different methods for determining the fat and lean mass of individuals.
The best known are weight scales that incorporate bioelectrical impedances passed through the soles of the feet. There are a number of types that are available for home use and are accurate enough for general guidance.
Trained and skilled physiologists can provide an accurate breakdown of fat and lean body composition through the use of hydro densitometry equipment that is a useful monitor for highly trained athletes and sportsmen and women.
They also use a simple skin fold measurement technique that can be up to 98% accurate.
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