Ideal Body Fat Percentage

body mass index

Many people want to know what their ideal body fat percentage is.  The problem with trying to answer this question is that that there is no straight answer that applies to every individual person.  The ideal body fat percentage can vary quite a bit in between various individuals depending on body type, heredity, age, eating habits, gender, and normal activity levels.  All of these can effect what a healthy body fat percentage, as 6% might be healthy for one individual, but 15% is healthy for someone else.  However as a general rule of thumb, once you get up to 25%, that’s unhealthy for anybody.

The ideal body fat percentage also varies greatly depending on gender.  For example, most males who have 5% body fat are considered in excellent health because that’s the safe lower limit for most men.  Women, on the other hand, have a minimum of 12% to be at safe levels.  A woman aiming for 5% body fat is not only being unrealistic, but is probably aiming for a goal that would actually make her unhealthy.

Active people tend to have lower body fat, while individuals with a more sedentary life style are obviously more likely to have a high level of body fat.  In addition to this, age has a lot to do it.  For example, males who are 20 are often considered to have too little body fat if they are below 8% (obviously there are exceptions, like hard core athletes).  But at 70, you would have to be below 13% to have too little body fat.  The healthy range for a 30 year old male is 8-19%, while for an 80 year old it is 13-25%.

Figuring out your ideal body fat percentage and working to keep it in that range is a very important part of staying healthy and is a better indication of overall health than the body mass index (BMI).  Going to a doctor for a test can be a good idea, and there are body fat monitors that help you to monitor your progress as you diet and exercise your way to an ideal body fat percentage.

This is one of the most important things you can do to in order to stay in good health.  Your ideal body fat percentage should be one of your main goals in working out and becoming healthy.  Taking another measurement every three weeks to steadily keep track of your progress towards your ideal body fat percentage can help you to stay motivated and stay with a workout and diet program.

There are actually a wide array of body fat monitors available, giving consumers multiple choices.  Aiming for the body fat reduction can be encouraging, as sometimes you may be staying at the same weight but gaining muscle while losing fat, or you might be losing weight but your body takes longer to show it.  By keeping track of your progress, you will get healthier and may find it easier to reach your ideal body fat percentage.

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