The latest news on the health and wellness issues that matter most • July 2012 Health Matters
The scale is not the best indicator of one’s fitness level. For example, two women of the same height and weight will get the same scale read-outs, but one woman may be flabby and out-of-shape with the other lean and healthy due to different body compositions. The scale, said Bill Wendling, NCHWellness Centers’ Program Coordinator, measures total body weight, but it does not indicate body composition, which is different for everyone. Body composition also changes over a fairly long period of time, while body weight can fluctuate by four or five pounds in a single day. He also cited two common myths about muscle and fat. One is that muscle weighs more than fat. It’s Not About The Scale By Jean Amodea
“Five pounds of muscle weighs exactly the same as five pounds of fat. However, muscle is a much denser tissue, so it takes up much less space than five pounds of fat,” he said. The other myth is that when you stop exercising, muscle turns to fat. Wendling explained that muscle and fat are two totally separate body tissues.When you stop exercising, muscles atrophy or shrink; as fewer calories are burned, fat accumulates. Wendling said the Wellness Center can help you focus on body composition and loss of body fat. To that end, the center helps mem-
bers increase their lean body mass and muscle. To successfully lose body fat, one must take in fewer calories than are expended through a well-planned diet and exercise program. Adding muscle through a program that includes both cardio and strength training will increase the body’s metabolic rate and burn more calories—even while sitting down. By reducing caloric intake by at least 500 calories a day, one can lose approximately one-and-one-half to two pounds of weight per week. To get an accurate indication of fitness goals, Wendling recom- mends a quick and easy body fat analysis using the skin-fold caliper test, which measures the thickness of fat at different sites on your body. The numbers are put in a linear regression formula based on age and sex to estimate your body fat percentage. “Testing an individual before starting a training regimen and then testing two or three months later is a better indication of fitness goals than using the scale,” Wendling said. “It is an incredibly useful tool to determine if fitness goals are being met or if adjustments are needed.” The cost for the skin-fold body-fat analysis is usually $20. Present this article to get the test for $5 from July until September.
Bill Wendling, NCH Wellness Centers’ Program Coordinator, holds models of five pounds of fat (left) and five pounds of muscle showing that the muscle is denser and takes up less space than an equal weight of fat.
For more information, call the Whitaker Wellness Center at (239)596-9200 or the Briggs Wellness Center at (239)436-6770. You can also visit www.nchmd.org/wellness or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nchwellness
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