A weighing scale is a vital piece of equipment for measuring your body weight and tracking health and fitness. But, if you want a much more rounded picture of your body health - you need to know more than just your weight.
That’s where body composition scales come in. They’re now more readily available - and affordable - than ever, and can be a much better tool for measuring how fit and healthy you are.
Most body composition scales measure body fat, fat mass and body water alongside weight and BMI, and some do much more. In this blog post, we’ve listed the measurements provided by Marsden’s MBF body composition scales range - and why they’re important.
As a sidenote, Marsden’s MBF-6000 and MBF-6010 scales were developed with Hull York Medical School, and have been found to be closer to DEXA (the ‘gold standard of body composition measurement, according to BBC’s The One Show recently) than any other available.
Body fat percentage
Body fat percentage is the measure of body fat you have, compared to all the other components of your body. It’s not just your body size that will affect this number, however; it will also differ depending on gender and age - but it’s best, as a rule of thumb, to have a lower body fat percentage the younger you are.
For women, body fat percentage should be no higher than 25 percent. For men, it should be no higher than 20 percent.
We recently published a free infographic poster, explaining body fat.
Fat mass is the measurement of total fat stored within your body. Your body will have essential fat, and storage fat; the former is required for the body to function properly. It’s stored in bone marrow, organs, muscles and your central nervous system.
Storage fat is the fat you accumulate under your skin and in your muscles. Your body needs some storage fat to function; however, it’s the extra storage fat that leads to excess weight and, ultimately, health problems. It’s the excess storage fat that you need to lose!
Fat free mass
Fat free mass is also sometimes referred to as lean body mass. This is your body’s weight minus fat, and includes body water, bone, organs and muscle.
If your goal is improving health and fitness, your aim should be to increase your fat free mass and reduce your fat mass.
Basal metabolic rate
Your basal metabolic rate is the energy that your body uses while at rest. It’s an estimate of how many calories you’d burn if you were to rest and do nothing for 24 hours.
As you get older, your metabolism slows down - which is why it’s harder to keep weight off the older you get. However, it’s eating that keeps your metabolism - and BMR - high, and therefore depriving yourself of food in order to lose weight may, ultimately, lead to you struggling to keep weight off.
You can increase your BMR with regular cardiovascular exercise - as well as sensible eating!
Total body water
Total body water is the amount of fluids in your body - in the case of Marsden MBF body composition scales, this is shown as a percentage of your total body weight.
The human body contains a large amount of water, and typically men are 60 percent water, with women around 50 percent. Water regulates body temperature and helps the body eliminate waste. Being well hydrated also helps performance, concentration and general well-being.
It’s especially essential to keep your body hydrated. Two litres of water per day is recommended - when you are highly active or training, for example if you’re at the gym.
What else does a body composition scale measure?
Using a Marsden body composition scale will also provide you with weight and BMI readings. We recently created this free BMI infographic poster, which explains BMI, an ideal BMI reading and the risks associated with a high reading.
If you would like more information about body composition scales, how they work and what the readings mean, contact the Marsden team here.