Body composition analysis sounds complicated, and a little fancy – but it needn’t be confusing, when you have a doctor to go through your results in full with you. In fact, undergoing a body composition analysis test is a powerful way to get back in touch with your body’s needs, and regular checkups can help you hone in on exercise and nutrition wherever needed.
Here are the top four body composition analysis advantages:
#1 More Detailed Than Your BMI Result
We’ve all had the dreaded visit to the doctor’s office where you’re made to stand on a scale – and your height and weight are held up against a graph to figure out your body mass index (BMI) result. But the use of BMI is frankly outdated, as it can only approximate your body mass, and is a very rigid set of figures. It is unreliable for hulking NFL players who weigh heavy on the scales, but clearly have more muscle mass, and for the thin person who may have a normal BMI but have high amount of visceral fat around their organs. BMI is simply not individualized enough for your needs.
Body composition analysis allows us to examine not only your total weight, but it breaks it down into a muscle to fat ratio – meaning we can see through the figures the weight of your fat-free mass (muscle, organs, water, bones, everything essential), essential fat (needed for your body to work properly – your functional medicine doctor is able to advise you on an individualized healthy body fat percentage), and non-essential visceral and subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat doesn’t only sit around your abdomen and waist – it surrounds your organs.
Bearing in mind my example of the football player: although he would be considered obese by BMI standards, by using body composition analysis, we would see that his body fat was low, and his muscle mass was high. In contrast, some patients who are slim and considered healthy by the BMI chart may have low muscle mass and high fat deposits – a condition nicknamed “skinny fat”. Body composition analysis allows us to see your body as a whole entity, the figures give us a better insight into your overall health – and whether you’re at particular risk of developing certain diseases.
Body composition analysis will also look at the content of total body water and extracellular water (water outside of the cells), which can give an idea of not only hydration, but also if inflammation and water retention are present.
#2 Indicates Underlying Deficiencies
By providing us with information on your lean mass, body composition analysis allows you to take charge of your health. With figures relating to bone and muscle mass, your doctor can run blood analysis where needed, and work with you to address any imbalances. Nutrition is a crucial part of the journey towards better health.
Low bone mass is often associated with the aging process and osteoporosis, where lack of calcium (and vitamin D to help absorb it) means that your bones become brittle and weak. Low muscle mass can leave you feeling weak and in pain, but has a host of long term health complications: particularly in older patients, low muscle mass can lead to developing type 2 diabetes, as lack of muscle to absorb and use glucose after meals can raise blood sugar levels. And we know that as you age you actually need a higher protein intake to maintain muscle mass as well.
Body composition analysis is an excellent tool in examining your body and working out if any adjustments to your lifestyle need to be made. The results paint a clear picture of your needs-even if you simply need to drink more water!
#3 Gives an Insight into Hormonal Imbalances
Body composition analysis allows a peek into not only what your fat composition is, but also where it is situated. While you may think you know where your squishy middle is, in actual fact a lot of your fat is packed around your organs – hard to spot in front of a mirror. The knowledge as to where your fat lies is not sought out to make you feel bad, but to establish if there’s an underlying issue.
A lot of fat around the middle is often linked to hormonal imbalances – particularly high levels of cortisol, which is usually released as a result of experiencing stress. Yes, you read that right – stress can contribute to obesity, and not just because of comfort eating! Higher levels of fat can also indicate trouble with increased insulin production, leading to PCOS in women, and low testosterone in men. Alternatively, location of fat may indicate if you have a thyroid issue that needs to be assessed.
#4 Helps You Tailor Your Exercise to Your Body’s Needs
By far the best aspect of body composition analysis is how it gives real answers and feedback on how you should optimize your health. I believe this is the sort of cutting-edge technology that puts the power back into the hands of my patient, by emphasizing the significance of body composition to health.
For example, if your results show that you have low muscle mass, strength training is the best option for exercising to regain strength. If you have high non-essential fat, it may be time to begin some high intensity cardiovascular workouts in addition to resistance training. Body composition analysis allows you to have a frank conversation with your doctor, and he or she in turn can offer some practical advice.
Segmental Analysis with InBody 570 Advanced Body Composition Analysis in Paradise Valley, Arizona
At Arizona Wellness Medicine, we’re proud to offer body composition analysis on our InBody 570 machine, allowing us to gather a full snapshot of your health in relation with other tests.
The InBody 570 can tell us a lot about your lifestyle and the next steps needed to get you to optimal health. Our body composition scale allows for segmental analysis – that is, a breakdown of the composition of your body parts – your right and left leg, right arm and left arm, and your trunk. The added benefit of this service is that the detail allows us to see when a limb needs extra rehabilitation, or if there are any imbalances that need addressing.
If you’re interested in undergoing Advanced Body Composition Analysis in Arizona, call to book an appointment on 602 892-4727 or fill out our contact form.