Out with the old, in with the new!
When you go to your doctor for your annual check-up, it’s likely that your body mass index (BMI) is measured and discussed. Indeed, BMI is mentioned often in the media as the standard measure to check if you are carrying any extra weight. However, BMI measurements are not suitable for a large number of us. For example, BMI measurements incorrectly classify extremely muscular people (i.e. rugby players and body builders) as obese. Conversely, it also classifies people with excess body fat and very little muscle mass as in the healthy range, even though this is far from the case!
We at Flynn Medical Exercise are delighted to report that technology has progressed, and there is now available a much more accurate measurement in this area known as Percentage Body Fat Measurement. And in case you didn’t know already, measurement of your Percentage Body Fat is a standard part of our Medical Health and Exercise Assessments at Flynn Medical Exercise, and you can click here to read more about that.
Percentage Body Fat is measured by attaching two electrodes on your left hand and two more on your left foot. A current is passed through, and your body’s total electrical resistance is measured. This is then used to automatically calculate the amount of water and the amount of fat-free/lean mass (inc. muscle, bone & vital organs) in your body, after adjusting for your height.
Why it’s Essential!
Tracking your Percentage Body Fat is particularly helpful when you’re on a weight loss programme, as it can accurately tell you where your weight loss is coming from i.e. reduction in water mass, reduction in lean mass (bad!), or reduction in fat mass (good!). It also tells you the number of kilograms of fat in your body, which is very useful when you consider that 1 kilogram of fat takes roughly 3,500 calories (of exercise) to burn!
Percentage Body Fat analysis also calculates your Basal Metabolic Rate, another very informative measurement. You may have heard, correctly, that people with a faster metabolism find it easier to lose weight and easier to keep the weight off in the first place. Well, your Basal Metabolic Rate is the number of calories your body spends to keep your body alive each day, before you do any exercise at all. The higher your Basal Metabolic Rate is, the easier it is for you to lose and keep off weight. It is also good to know that the more lean (muscle) mass you are carrying, the higher your Basal Metabolic Rate will be, so get exercising people!
Finally, and most importantly, a high Percentage Body Fat is closely associated with your risk of cardiovascular disease, much more so than BMI. So if your percentage body fat is high (over 25% in men, over 30% in women), you are at increased risk of a heart attack and other cardiovascular accidents, even if your weight is in the healthy range! Females are more likely to have a healthy weight but an unhealthy percentage body fat, so getting yourself checked is essential. And remember, you can get your Percentage Body Fat checked here at Flynn Medical Exercise, so drop us a line and find out for yourself!