From physical strength to organ function, fitness biomarkers, including muscles mass, fat levels and body water play a vital role in your health at every stage of life.
Although commonly associated with looking good or building strength, muscle mass is an important biomarker of health. Muscle mass is usually measured as part of your total body composition, along with fat mass and bone mass.
Our muscles play a vital role in our health at all stages of life. On top of allowing movement and balance and forming physical strength, they also contribute to organ function. Muscle mass is a big responder to what is happening in your body and plays a vital part in:
- Giving you energy
- Balancing your hormones
- Regulating sugar
- Soaking up toxins
- Forming part of the immune system
- Maintaining skin integrity
Muscle loss is a natural part of aging. Once we hit 40 we can lose approximately 8 per cent of muscle per decade and this can almost double after the age of 70. Muscle loss can be accelerated by illness and can lead to an increased risk of falls and fractures as well as delay recovery from illness. So, it is important to do what we can to protect and preserve our muscles. Daily movement and regular exercise are key in helping you obtain an optimal muscle mass, so that you can thrive in strength and health.
Do you consider fat to be your enemy?
If you knew that body fat was an important component of health, would that change your perspective?
Fats give you energy and help the body absorb certain vitamins. Essential fatty acids help your body function and because they are not made by your body – it is important to consume them regularly. Many foods naturally contain fats, including meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, seeds, nuts, avocados, and coconuts. Consuming these foods helps you support your health and vitality.
But how much fat is healthy?
With body fat, there is no ideal territory, and your personal limits will depend on lifestyle and health conditions. Remember though, less is not always better!
Being severely underweight, or losing weight too fast, can affect your bone density and set you up for developing osteoporosis or osteopenia. This is why when you are trying to lose weight, it is important to maintain the goal of losing around 1 to 2 lbs per week. Rapid weight loss above this rate can result in the loss of three times more lean tissue than fat tissue! Similarly, if you try to lose weight strictly through dieting, or dieting and cardiovascular exercise, much of your weight loss will be from muscle and bone mass. Instead of focusing solely on dieting, try to engage in heavy resistance training and impact exercise so that your muscle and bone mass can be maintained.
On the other hand, excessive body fat (above about 25% for men and 30% for women) has been strongly linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. Excessive fat is distributed around the abdomen (android fat) and around the hips (gynoid fat). Make sure to regularly monitor fat levels as part of body composition as that will help you prevent diseases before they start.
You are probably aware of the fact that your body consists of up to 60 percent water. But do you take seriously the recommendation to drink at least 11 glasses of water daily? Many people do not, and this might be why body water is one of the top nutritional deficiencies.
Water is essential to your body’s function: your brain and heart, for example, are 73% water, and your lungs are 83% water. Can you imagine that even your bones are 31% water? In an article in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science, “The Turnover of Body Water as an Indicator of Health,” the authors noted, “Water homeostasis (also known as fluid balance) is essential for healthy living,” and theorized that healthy people may have a higher body water turnover than unhealthy people.
Water serves several essential functions to keep us all going. It is a vital nutrient to the life of every cell and acts first as a building material. What is more, water regulates our internal body temperature by sweating and respiration as well as assisting in flushing waste mainly through urination. Amongst other functions, water also acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus, forms saliva and lubricates joints.
If you do not have enough water in your system:
- Your joint health may suffer;
- You skin health may worsen;
- You can become foggy;
- Your overall organ function may decline.
An important subcomponent of your total body water is how much water you have inside and outside cells. Intracellular water is water that is inside your cells. Intracellular water is like water inside a grape – it is the juice that makes the grape ripe and healthy. If intracellular water is low, all the functions in the cell, including energy production, start declining. When the water moves outside, on the other hand, this leads to toxicity and inflammation.
Monitoring your body water is an excellent way to see which way your health is trending. You can measure your body water with bioelectrical impedance analysis, which measures the percentage of water in your body as part of your total body composition. With MenlaScan you can receive a hydration score which shows the exact level of intracellular water in your body.