• Hartwood Health – My Body Composition Experience

    Work on you, for you.

    Having turned 30 last year, I decided that I couldn’t keep placing my health and wellbeing on the back burner. Whilst I knew that I needed to get in shape, eat healthier and spend more time focusing on my mental health, I will be honest I felt overwhelmed simply because I didn’t know what steps to take or where to begin.

    When Paula from Hartwood Health, a health consultancy based in Fleet reached out to me about their body composition service back in January, I was equally curious and nervous.

    I needn’t of worried, as from the moment Paula greeted me at the door with a smile, I instantly felt at ease in her presence. After making me a lovely cup of tea, Paula told me all about the fantastic range of services that Hartwood Health can offer individuals which include pregnancy massages for expectant mothers, sports therapy, advice and guidance on nutrition and diet plans that are tailored to you… just to name just a few.

    One of the things that instantly struck me as I walked into the body composition room was how they have found the perfect balance between that relaxed ambience that we usually only experience in our own homes and that safe clinical setting that one usually finds in a healthcare setting such as a hospital.

    Before my scan began, Paula explained what was going to happen and answered all of my questions as we went along, which instantly put me at ease. First, she measured my height and noted my weight which was entered into the system to ensure that the calculations were accurate.

    Next, I was asked to lay on a table whilst Paula placed two electrodes on my feet and hands. Then a small device (about the size of two iPads fixed to a belly band) was placed over my torso. Paula explained the differences to me between different types of body scans and how the body composition scan measures different elements within your body.

    The scan was painless and surprisingly relaxing – I even joked to Paula about how I felt like I was going to drift off to sleep! After about 1 minute Paula informed me that my scan was complete and talked me through my personalised report.

    Some of the things that I personally took away from this experience included:

    • My BMI (Body Mass Index) was within the healthy range at 23. A healthy range is anything between 18.5 and 25. However, as Paula explained to me, this isn’t always the most accurate way to measure our true fitness and health, which is where body composition comes in.
    • My fat mass (the total amount of fat in the body) was too high and my results indicated that I had a marked increase in my fat mass. Whilst our bodies require some healthy fat for energy, heat, protection of our vital organs and for cell renewal – too much of a good thing can increase our risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
    • My fat-free mass (the difference between our fat mass and our total body weight) was also too low and demonstrated a criterion for malnutrition. Fat-free mass is made up largely of water, muscles, bones, organs, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.
    • Skeletal muscle mass – Whilst my legs had reasonable levels in them (due to lunchtime walks), unsurprisingly, Paula informed me that my upper body had low levels (which would explain why I don’t have a lot of upper body strength when lifting). Paula explained to me that it is a good idea to do a combination of weight training and cardio to help increase my levels in my arms – as higher skeletal mass can help both my immune system and my metabolic rate.
    • Body composition chart – Unlike BMI, this chart can indicate if an individual has a higher BMI due to a higher proportion of fat or muscle.
    • Total body water – Despite having a cup of tea prior to my test, my results indicated that I was dehydrated. This was simply because I hadn’t consumed any water or food prior to my test. What I loved about this particular aspect was that the test can identify if you are dehydrated, over hydrated or within the healthy range (by looking at the water content within your body and cells).
    • In addition to some of the above areas, a body composition scan also assesses a variety of risk factors which determine the likelihood of an individual incurring a fatal cardiovascular disease within the next 10 years. This section will automatically be left blank if the scan doesn’t detect any risk factors.

    Your health is an investment, not an expense.

    Why have a body composition scan and what are the benefits?

    • Body composition scans provide you with quantifiable results and data – making it easier for you to track your true progress when starting a new fitness regime or diet plan.
    • Hartwood Health can provide personalised nutrition and diet plans, which is great if you have tried other diet plans that haven’t worked for you.
    • A body composition enables you to identify areas that require improvement. I have discovered that I personally need to do a combination of weight training coupled with some cardio exercises to help me increase my fat-free mass and increase my muscle percentage, reduce my calorie intake if I remain inactive, increase my water consumption and resist that family-sized bar of chocolate or pack of biscuits!

    Focus on your health, not your weight.

    Whilst Hartwood Health are unable to offer the full range of services at present (owing to the ongoing Covid-19 virus outbreak and governmental advice), the team are happy to answer your questions or enquiries either via email or phone. In addition to the above, Hartwood Health will continue to provide dietetics and nutrition advice, counselling and paediatric dietetics advice via telephone or video consultations.

    If you would like to discover the full range of services available at Hartwood Health or perhaps want to launch yourself into the world of fitness, then why not check out their website here or speak to the lovely Paula and her team of therapists on 01252 594110.

    This was a gifted experience courtesy of Hartwood Health. As always all views and opinions remain my own. Please note that this scan was carried out on the 29th February 2020 prior to social distancing being advised.

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