Women aged 20-39 should aim for 21-32% body fat, while men in the same age range should aim for 8-19%. For those aged 40-59, the recommended range for women is 23-33%, and for men, it’s 11-21%. For those aged 60-79, women should aim for 24-35% body fat, and men should aim for 13-24%.
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Why is too much body fat bad?
High fat levels prevent your body from responding to insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels.
This can lead to serious health issues, such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, as well as depression.
What are the benefits of high body fat levels?
Fat plays an important role in providing energy for the body, protecting internal organs, supporting cell growth, regulating cholesterol and blood pressure, and helping with the absorption of essential nutrients.
By excessively cutting out all fat from your diet, the body can become deprived of these important functions.
Why is low body fat bad?
Having too little body fat can result in deficiencies of fat-soluble vitamins, which can only be absorbed by the body with the presence of fat.
It increases the risk of various diseases such as heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, nervous system damage, shrinkage of organs, and a weakened immune system.
What are the benefits of lowering body fat percentage?
Lowering your body fat not only improves your physical well-being but also positively affects your mental health and mood.
Studies have found that after a substantial weight loss, individuals often report feeling less tense, depressed, angry, and fatigued within a few months.
Easy ways to lower body fat
There are several easy ways to lower body fat, some include:
- Eating well means having a lot of fruits and vegetables.
- Add lean protein to your diet
- Try to eat fewer processed food and sugary snacks
- Add regular exercise, such as cardio and strength training, to your daily routine.
- Reduce stress. Try meditation or yoga.
- Get enough sleep. Aim to 7- 9 hours per night.
- Drink enough water. Make 8 cups a daily goal.
- Keep a food diary to identify patterns and triggers for overeating
How does sleep help you lose weight?
Sleep plays an important role in weight management.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates appetite and makes you feel hungrier.
This can lead to overeating, which can cause weight gain.
Additionally, lack of sleep can also impact your metabolism, making it harder to burn calories and lose weight.
When you’re sleep-deprived, your body produces more cortisol, a stress hormone that can also lead to weight gain, especially in the abdominal area.
How does working shift work make it harder to lose weight?
Shift work can make it more difficult for people to lose weight for several reasons.
Disruption of circadian rhythms
Shift work messes up our normal sleep pattern, called the circadian rhythm.
This can cause trouble sleeping, feeling tired, and other sleep problems.
These issues can make it tough to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
Changes in appetite hormone
Working different shifts can change how your body handles hunger.
Research says that people who work shifts often have more ghrelin, which makes you hungry.
They also have less leptin, which helps you feel full.
This might cause them to eat too much and gain weight.
Lack of time and energy
People might not have enough time or energy to cook healthy food or work out when they’re not working.
This can make it hard for them to eat right and stay active.
Stress and anxiety
Working different hours can make you feel more stressed and worried.
This can make you gain weight.
Feeling stressed or worried might make you eat too much.
It can also mess up the hormones that control how hungry you feel.
Limited access to healthy foods
People who work shifts sometimes can’t get healthy foods easily.
They might not have supermarkets close by.
So, they often eat food from vending machines or fast-food places.
This food usually has lots of calories but not many nutrients.
What is cortisol and why is it important?
Cortisol is a hormone produced in the body that is commonly referred to as the “stress hormone.”
When an individual experiences stress, the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain secretes a hormone called Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).
ACTH then triggers the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys.
This increased release of cortisol initiates the “fight or flight” response in the body. Additionally, it raises blood sugar and blood pressure, causes weight gain, and can impact mood.
Do cortisol blockers work?
Yes. Cortisol blockers are commonly used in the treatment of conditions characterized by high cortisol levels, such as Cushing’s syndrome.
They are also being marketed as dietary supplements that claim to help reduce your appetite and promote weight loss and muscle growth.
It’s important to note that their effectiveness in these areas is not well-established by scientific research and that they should only be used under medical supervision.
How to get tested for high cortisol levels
A cortisol test typically involves taking a sample of blood at a lab, but it can also be done using urine or saliva samples collected at home.
Cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day. Healthcare providers may require several tests to better understand an individual’s cortisol levels.
What are the best types of exercise for losing body fat?
To lose body fat, you should focus on aerobic exercises like running, swimming, and cycling. These exercises help burn a lot of calories.
How important is diet in losing body fat?
Diet is very important in losing body fat. Eating fewer calories than you burn is key. Focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
Can lifting weights help me lose body fat?
Yes, lifting weights can help you lose body fat. It builds muscle, which burns more calories even when you’re not exercising.
How much water should I drink to help lose body fat?
Drinking plenty of water is good for losing fat. Aim for 8-10 glasses a day. It keeps you hydrated and can help reduce hunger.
Is getting enough sleep important for losing body fat?
Yes, getting enough sleep is important. Aim for 7-9 hours per night. Lack of sleep can make you feel hungrier and lead to weight gain.
Claudia Faucher is a full-time fitness training expert and lifestyle blogger. She is also been a certified Les Mills BodyPump instructor for the past 5 years and a fitness instructor for over 20 years. Claudia is a personal trainer and creates fitness training programs for seniors and people of all ages. She likes to use her skills and experiences to help others on their fitness journeys.