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Body composition is a huge factor in determining overall health. It’s important to remember that the body consists of fat cells and muscle and bone. What you eat, how often you work out, and your genetics all play a role in determining your body composition.

This article will discuss what happens when the body has too much or too little of these three things.


What is Body Composition and How Does It Affect Your Health?

Body composition refers to the ratio of lean mass (muscles, bones, and organs) vs. fat. Since muscles are about 18% water, that number is not included in this percentage.

When you consume more calories than your body needs for energy, it stores these excess nutrients as adipose tissue or fat cells. The amount of body fat varies between individuals and can be affected by many factors, including your diet, fitness level/activity levels, age, and genetics.


What Happens If Body Composition is Too High?

If you have too much fat in relation to lean mass (muscles), this puts you at risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension. Also, if you are obese, it may be difficult to exercise or engage in physical activities due to the excess weight.


The Effects of Being Overweight or Obese on Your Health

The amount of fat you have in relation to your overall body weight can affect your likelihood of developing chronic diseases. Having too much adipose tissue (fat) puts an individual at risk for developing health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and coronary artery disease.

On the other end of the body composition spectrum, having too little fat and too much lean mass puts you at risk for osteoporosis since bones require a certain amount of fat for optimum health. Lean mass can also mean that you don’t have enough body fat to support the essential functions and processes your body needs, such as temperature regulation and nutrient storage.


Can You Change Body Composition?

There are several factors outside of diet and genetics that affect how much lean muscle or adipose tissue you have. These include:

-How much and what type of exercise do you do

-Your age (typically, as we get older, our body composition changes)

-The amount of stress in your life (stress can lead to higher cortisol levels which encourage weight gain due to adipose storage)


How to Measure Your Body Composition

There are several ways you can measure your body composition.

Skinfold calipers are one method; however, they can be inaccurate since you need to know the right location on the body for measuring fat (usually in a pinch of skin between two bones).

A more accurate way is through hydrostatic weighing or bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), which measures how much water is in your body. Water is a good indicator of lean mass.

3D body scanning with Styku. This relatively new technique performs a body scan in seconds using a turntable and 3D camera. The body scanner can extract millions of measurements with accuracy and precision to create a 3D image of your body in that short amount of time.


How Body Composition Impacts Overall Health

Body composition has a huge impact on overall health! It’s important to remember that the body doesn’t just consist of fat cells but muscle and bone. What you eat, how often you work out, and your genetics all play a role in determining your body composition.


How to Improve Body Composition

There are many ways you can improve your body composition and overall health, including:

-Eating a balanced diet with plenty of whole foods (fruits, veggies, nuts/seeds)

-Reducing stress levels through exercise or relaxation techniques

-Regular strength training to build muscle and increase your lean mass percentage (muscles are metabolically active, meaning that they require a lot of calories to maintain)

-Increasing activity levels/physical exercise throughout the day. For instance, taking stairs instead of an elevator or parking further away from stores can help you burn more calories and increase lean mass.


Is it Possible to Have Healthy Body Composition?

Yes! Even if you have a higher body fat percentage, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your health is at risk; rather, lifestyle factors such as eating quality foods and exercising regularly play a significant role in maintaining healthy body composition.

Remember: Having too much or too little of either adipose tissue or lean muscle can affect the overall well-being of an individual – so finding a balance is key.


Tips for Achieving a Healthier, More Desirable Weight through diet and exercise

You can take steps to improve your health by reaching a healthier weight through diet and exercise.

-Try cutting out processed foods in lieu of whole ones (fruits, veggies)

-Increase lean protein intake (chicken, turkey, fish) while reducing carbohydrate consumption (bread/pasta). Also, consider eating more fiber since it helps you feel full for longer periods of time.


How Exercise Can Improve Your Health Over Time

Research suggests that regular physical activity is beneficial for performance and has benefits on overall well-being. These include:

-Increased muscle mass

-Improved cardiovascular endurance

-Decreased blood pressure

-Reduced risk of type II diabetes; decreased insulin resistance


Ways to Improve Your Overall Well-being by Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight can help you sleep better and feel more energized throughout the day.

-Control your portion sizes

-Reduce intake of refined carbohydrates (such as sugary foods) to reduce overall calorie consumption

-Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day for sustained energy levels


Aiming to maintain or achieve a healthier body composition through clean eating and exercise is beneficial both on the outside and in terms of one’s quality of life. Healthy body composition can help minimize pain and reduce injuries, so don’t be afraid to work hard towards achieving that ideal figure.


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