Body fat measurement is always correlated with high-end athletes, who use it to monitor their practice results. Nonetheless, ordinary people are also using it nowadays, to know their fitness quotient and take the necessary steps to a healthy body. Many new tools are coming in the market today, to help people measure their body fat. Such tools enable us to measure the percentage of fat in our body i.e., fat versus muscle. They help us to look at the overall body composition and take corrective steps, if necessary, since high body fat composition can lead to certain health risks, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and some types of cancers. On the other hand, people with too low body fat do not fare better either. They are faced with another set of risks, which include cessation or irregularity of menstrual cycles, low hormone levels and a loss of bone mass. In case you also want to measure your body fat, read on further and explore the different tools that are used for the purpose.
Body Fat Measuring Devices
Calipers present the simplest and least expensive tool to measure your body fat. Resembling a giant tweezer, they are used for grasping the skin folds from different points of your body and measuring the thickness. The measurements taken are then compared to a given chart that contains the standard values for people of all age groups and genders. You can compare your measurement with the corresponding value in the chart. Although, this is the cheapest method of body fat measurement, the results largely depend on the quality of the calipers being used. How consistently and accurately a person has taken the measurements will also affect the accuracy of the results.
Regarded as the “golden standard” of body fat measurement, hydrostatic weighing is normally available only in universities or high-end training facilities. A person using this method for measuring body fat has to submerge his naked body in a large tank of water. While he expels air through the lungs, the body fat is measured on the basis of a number of factors, including water displacement. Being the most accurate method of measuring body fat, it is often regarded as the standard, which is compared to other methods. The main drawback of this tool is that it is very expensive and not easily available to the general public.
The third device for body fat measurement is bioelectrical impedance. This tool requires a person to hold a small device or stand on a scale-like device having small plates on it. The machine passes a tiny current through the body and calculates the resistance it encounters while passing it through. The measurement taken is calculated as a percentage of the weight, factoring in the age, height and fitness level. The main advantage of this device is that you can calculate your body fat through bioelectrical impedance at home as well, with minimal effort required. The drawback is that there are certain guidelines that are to be followed to get correct reading.