4 Ways to Improve Your BMI

Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a useful indicator of your health, and could even alert you and your medical practitioner to any serious illnesses or diseases before it’s too late. It’s important to keep track of your BMI on a regular basis.

BMI is used to determine your ideal weight for your height, but fails to take your body’s composition – the amount of fat and muscle you carry – into account. It is therefore only valuable as a guide.

A low BMI suggests you are underweight, while a higher BMI may indicate that you are overweight or obese, depending on the final figure. Both extremes can be equally risky, but require further testing, such as body fat measurements, waist-to-hip ratios, and others to make a conclusive diagnosis.

In this regard, using a fitness device such as the TomTom Touch fitness tracker, makes it easier to monitor your overall health, with its innovative built-in ‘body composition analysis’ feature which measures and tracks your fat percentage and muscle mass at the touch of a button.

When these data are used in conjunction with BMI, where a general guidelines to determine if you are within the ‘healthy’ range is a BMI of 20 to 24.9, then you can start to make informed decisions on how to improve your weight and body composition to benefit your health.

According to TomTom, if you aim to shift your BMI into the ‘healthy’ range, you should follow these 4 steps:

1. Establish an effective workout routine

A great way improve your body composition and possibly lose or gain weight to achieve a healthy BMI is to exercise regularly. This should include a reasonable amount of cardio activity – particularly if you need to lower your BMI – in addition to sufficient resistance exercise. Workouts that combine both, such as CrossFit or any type of high-intensity interval weight training are also ideal.

If your BMI is low, adding muscle is the best way to gain weight. Opt for complex, compound exercises such as bench presses, dumbbell presses, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, chin-ups, and dips. Draw up a weekly roster for a balanced workout routine and try to stick to it, or you can work with a professional trainer to help you keep to a routine and get the results you’re after.

2. Make fitness a conscious effort

You don’t have to become a gym bunny to live a healthy and active lifestyle – there are plenty of ways to drop a few kilos by performing simple, everyday tasks. For example, take the stairs instead of the lift and try to take short breaks at work to walk around instead of just sitting at your desk until it’s time to knock off.

Along with body composition analysis, you can also use your TomTom Touch to set fitness goals and track physical activity for the week, as well as keep an eye on your ticker using the built-in heart-rate monitor.

3. Eat your way to good health

It’s important to be mindful of what and how you eat when it comes to achieving a weight goal – as many health experts will tell you, losing (or gaining) weight is about [highlight]20% exercise and 80% diet.[/highlight] If you’re trying to gain weight, you will obviously need to increase your calorie intake, ideally by including more protein, with an optimal balance of natural fats and complex carbohydrates in your diet. Those trying to lose weight should try to cut down on calories and manipulate their carbohydrate intake (read more about carb cycling here).

A helpful way to stay on top of a diet plan is to keep a food diary, documenting each meal of the day along with its nutritional value. It’s also a good idea to visit a dietician, who will be able to provide you with an eating plan that is best suited to your individual needs.

4. Get more shut-eye

Puffy eyes and a grumpy attitude aren’t the only side effects of a poor night’s rest. Research has shown that a lack of sleep can also lead to weight gain. Going to bed on time every night not only helps prevent weight gain that results from late-night snacking, but also allows the body to actively burn more calories.

Adults should aim to get between eight and nine hours of sleep every night to maintain a healthy weight and improve overall wellbeing. If you have trouble getting to bed on time, try switching of all screens and electronic devices at least an hour before bed time and make yourself a warm caffeine-free drink.

A TomTom Touch device will automatically track and analyse your sleep each night, giving you the data you need to understand your sleep patterns, and make any changes that will have you feeling more rested.

Visit www.tomtom.com for more information on TomTom’s range of fitness products.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen