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The Human Body's Composition

Mar 20, 2008
Two types of tissue make up the human body, lean tissue which is the muscle, bone and organs that is metabolically active, and fat tissue, which is known as adipose tissue, and is inactive. It is the relationship between the two, the body fat ratio, that determines overall fitness and health.

The human body, on average, contains 70% water by weight. However, the most plentiful of elements by far in the body is oxygen, which is mainly a component of water. It is also an integral component of all proteins, carbohydrates, fats and nucleic acids.

Some of the elements that are included are:

Carbon,
Hydrogen,
Nitrogen,
Calcium,
Iron, and
Potassium

Even though these are present in small quantities, they are vital.

There are also essential trace elements present in tiny quantities, including:

fluorine,
copper,
zinc,
selenium, and others.

In order to remain at the peak of physical health, it is necessary that the human body's composition is kept in balance. This can be succeeded by maintaining an optimum lean to fat ratio, by consuming a healthy diet and undertaking exercise on a regular basis.

The optimum fat to lean ratio differs in men and women. Exactly the same applies to the optimum fat to lean ratio.

However, only a rough guide can be taken for the average person, as the height to weight charts do not take into account an individuals fitness levels.

Fit and healthy weight lifters would be a perfect example of this. They could be considered as being overweight in relation to their height. However, the body fat ratio may only be 8 - 10%.

For the purposes of good health, there is a difference in the body fat ratio for men and women. These ratios should be:

between 12% to 32% for women, and
between 5% to 25% for men.

It can indeed be very harmful to have too much or too little body fat, as this can lead to health problems. Therefore, you should always ensure that you attempt to keep within the limits, whether you are an athlete or a couch potato.

Athletes will of course sway towards the lower end of the scale. However, it is essential that female athletes take a great deal of care and do not fall below 12%. This is because they can become vulnerable to injury and diminishing performance as well as other health issues.

One of the biggest factors in determining the amount of fat that is stored in the body is your lifestyle. Inherited genetics also play a part upon the quantity of body fat that an individual possesses.

It is essential to control your calorie intake and level of exercise in order to create the correct balance between having too much or too little body fat.

If you have a high ratio of body fat, then it is imperative to reduce your calorie intake and take up some form of exercise. One of the best methods is to combine aerobics with weight training.

If your body fat ratio is too low. Then it is essential to eat more and reduce your energetic pursuits.

For men, a good average is 15% to 18%, and for women, a good average is 22% to 25%.

How is Body Fat Measured?

Fat and lean mass in individuals can be calculated using different methods. Some of these methods include:

Weighing scales that incorporate bioelectrical impedances that are passed through the feet are the best known devices. There are various different varieties available for home use that are accurate enough for general guidance.

An accurate breakdown of fat and lean body composition can also be provided by trained physiologists, through the use of hydro densitometry equipment, which is a useful monitor for highly trained athletes and sportsmen and women.

There is also another technique, which is up to 98% accurate, and that is the simple skin fold technique.
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