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What is a healthy body fat percentage?

In the past, men have hit the weight room with the primary goal of arching, but today, the main goal of many people is to "slim down" – to remove the fat in your body to show the arrangement of the muscles underneath , Think of Brad Pitt in the Fight Club or Cristiano Ronaldo at any point in the last decade. Torn muscles and not a remnant of excess bacon.

In order to achieve this physique, coaches and gyms have increased body fat levels, with the final goal being a one-digit number. But even if you are not targeting a ragged body, you should find out how high your body fat percentage is and whether you need to improve it, because it is a good indicator of how healthy you are.

"Being healthy The body fat percentage can reduce the risk of many illnesses," says dr. Luke Powles, family doctor at the Crossrail Health Center of Bupa in London.

"Increased body fat has been shown to link to higher cholesterol and elevated blood pressure. Both are factors that increase the likelihood of stroke or heart disease. Not only can higher levels of body fat be linked to certain types of cancer and diabetes, but it can also lead to erectile dysfunction in men.

"It's also important that the body fat percentage is not too low ̵

1; dealing with underweight has a number of health problems. "

For men between the ages of 20-39, healthy body fat is between 8% and 20%, and for men between 40 and 59 it is 11-22%. It's now easier than ever to monitor your body fat: you get smart scales, fitness trackers, and handheld scanners that provide statistics on your body composition. For fans of older (and cheaper) methods also calipers will fulfill the task.

Before trying to break down fat, it's useful to first understand something about the biology behind body fat, starting with the two different types: essential and stored.

Essential Fat

Essential fat is not surprising for the normal and healthy functioning of the body. In men, this accounts for about 3% of total body weight. Without essential fatty acids such as omega-3s from oily fish, nuts and seeds, it would be impossible for our bodies to process nutrients such as the fat-soluble vitamins A, K and D that contribute to immune health, blood clotting, and the absorption of calcium. Fat is also important for the protection of our organs as well as the insulation that regulates our internal temperatures.

Storage Fat

The other type of fat, called storage fat, is the result of a calorie surplus. When we eat, calories that are not used for immediate functions (such as the energy for breathing and fuel to make the heart tick) are converted into triglycerides that make up the storage fat. A frequent excess of calories causes the fat stores to accumulate, leading to weight gain. On the other hand, a recurring calorie deficit forces the body to consume its stored fat as energy, which depletes the stock and leads to weight loss.

Body Fat

In simple terms, fat is an accumulation of unused energy and is critical to our survival as humans. The body fat percentage is the ratio of fat to total weight. Many factors such as height, gender and genetics can affect that number and bring us back to the issue in question: what is a healthy body fat percentage? In general, the "healthy" range for men between the ages of 20 and 40 already starts at 8% and can reach up to 20%. A healthy woman of the same age could have between 15 and 31% body fat. Here's an indication of a healthy body fat percentage taken from the Royal College of Nursing in November 2015.

Body fat percentage for men by age group

Rating 20-39 years 40 -59 years 60-79 years
Low <8% <11% [19659020] <13%
Healthy 8-20% 11-22% 13-25%
increased 20-25% 22-28% [19659020] 25-30%
high > 25% > 28% > 28% ]> 30%

While most people who fall under these numbers are in good shape Constitution, such broad areas certainly do not take into account the individual fitness goals that every person can have. Bodybuilders who want to achieve an ultra-slim and muscular physique have one of the lowest average body fat levels (5-8%). Cyclists, gymnasts and triathletes are among the slimmest athletes and usually fall between 5 and 12% body fat. When it comes to being torn, the boys should keep the body fat between 5 and 10%.

RECOMMENDED: How to Reduce Body Fat

How to Measure Body Fat

Now it should be You are confident in the benefits of measuring your body fat percentage and want to find out your vital signs. There are a few options that differ in their ease of use and accuracy. For consumers, the accuracy may vary slightly. So if you use the same scanner every week at about the same time, you should get a picture of how your body fat percentage changes, even if the number of devices changes are not exactly right.

Brake calipers are the best way to measure body fat and are still the cheapest way to do it yourself today. You measure the crease in a pinch of skin in at least three places on your body, and enter those numbers into an app or online calculator to estimate your body fat percentage.

For those who want more, there are several technological options: smart scales and handheld scanners. Both can provide a variety of body composition statistics, including body fat percentage, and are incredibly easy to use – most will even forward your numbers directly to an app so you can track changes over time.

For Those Who Wish Extreme Accuracy There are options such as hydrostatic weighing and Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA), but they are hard hit in the wallet and are normally only used by professional athletes for body fat measurements.

BMI And Total Weight

Your body fat percentage is the best indication of health and fitness. It's a far better marker of body composition than outdated systems such as Body Mass Index (BMI) or simply measuring your total weight with scales. Your total weight may fluctuate significantly due to regular hormonal fluctuations, the time of day you weigh yourself, and how much you have eaten or drunk before entering the scale.

If you are relatively tall and muscular, the BMI does not make any statements you usually feel in the overweight or obese category. Part of the problem is that it should never apply to individuals, but to whole populations. It was developed in 1832 by a Belgian mathematician, Adolphe Quetelet, to define the average man (noting how "the weight increases with the square of altitude"), but not defining whether people were overweight or overweight.

In the 1980s, this was the case It was used as a useful formula to estimate the expected lifespan and has since been the bastard of the muscular man – he often denies young men the chance to join the police or similar, physically oriented organizations, where they still use BMI in the recruiting process. However, the body fat percentage measurement measures your specific composition of total fat, not an estimate based on your height and weight.

How to Measure Your Waist-to-Height Ratio

Here is another measurement for you to consider, because – apart from looking into a mirror – checking the waist-height ratio is the fastest way to get one to get an accurate idea of ​​whether you are in good shape or not.

All you need is a piece of string. Measure your size with this string, fold it in half and see if you can wrap it around your waist halfway between your hipbone and your bottom rib (obviously do not breathe).

When the cord does not work When you fit around your waist, your ratio of waist to height is over 0.5 and you have excess fat around your waist. This leads to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer and death. An apple-shaped body is basically bad news.

So, if you do not want to think about getting an accurate body fat percentage and are not convinced that the BMI tells the whole story about your body shape, grab a piece of string. The string never lies.

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