It’s Not About The Scale

Ok – We’ve talked about cardiovascular endurance and how that works as a medicine and we’ve also talked about the importance of muscular strength and endurance in our daily routine. One component of fitness that we’ve not discussed is body composition. Yes, we’re still talking about fitness – and this is an important component!

Body composition is the ratio of the amount of fat versus the amount of muscle your body contains. Body composition is not the number on the scale. Repeat it with me, body composition is not the number on the scale. Got it? Good!

So if body composition has nothing to do with the scale, why do we care about it? We all know that we have fat and we have muscle. If you are alive, you have those two things in your body. And guess what? We need both of them to survive! The fat in our body helps us with temperature regulation, vitamin digestion and normal body processes. Our muscle tissue helps us complete daily tasks such as walking, sitting upright and lifting. Do not get sucked into the thought that fat is bad and muscle is good – they’re both critical to life.

We run into problems when we have excess fat in our bodies. Excess fat, especially in our midsection, is linked to higher risk for chronic health problems. One quick way that you can tell if your midsection puts you at a higher risk for health problems is by measuring your waist circumference. To do this, grab a cloth tape measure. Hold the tape measure at the level of your belly button and measure all the way around back to your belly button. For men, a health waist circumference is under 40”. For women, the magic number is 35”. There are also technical ways to measure exact body composition – the fitness center can complete that test for you!

If you find that your body composition is not where it should be, it can always be improved. Following a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine that includes cardiovascular and strength training can help you achieve the body composition you desire!

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at langt01@srmc.org or 910-738-5403. I’m happy to help!

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