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How do you measure fitness?

by Press Release
Thursday 29th September 2016
I’m guessing that the fact you’re visiting a running website means that you’re interested in health and fitness. But how do you judge how fit and healthy you are? Is it managing your weight, is it hitting a fitness goal, is it monitoring your BMI? And how do you keep track of your progress? There’s a lot of information and a lot of different products out there. This research throws up some interesting stats about our quest for health and fitness. 
New research released by TomTom Sports has revealed that Brits feel in the dark when it comes to health and fitness, and face a constant battle to exercise effectively. The survey, commissioned to mark the launch of TomTom Touch, the World’s first fitness tracker to analyse body composition, found that the majority of Brits face a continuous battle to maintain a healthy body with a staggering 83% admitting they are concerned about managing their weight and 40% admitting that they weigh themselves at least once a week. Despite weighing themselves every day, nearly one in five stated they were unsuccessful at achieving their goals, with 11% putting this down to lack of awareness of the best way to shape up.

Tom Tom Touch
The new TomTom Touch

Knowledge gap
Overwhelmingly the nation’s main fitness goal is to stay healthy (40%), while 35% want to focus on actually losing weight or slimming down and 18% want to improve their fitness level.  Brits who admit they struggle to reach their goals find it challenging to understand key measurements of health and fitness and how they can affect change to their bodies through exercise. A massive 69% of people have no understanding of what body composition is, yet 80% of Brits know all about BMI and nearly a quarter (22%) believe it’s a good measure of health and fitness.
Fitness trackers
In the quest to take control of their fitness ambitions, a quarter of Brits (25%) have used activity trackers to assist them. However, on average, they have given up on these in under five months. Overwhelmingly the reason for this was a lack of belief that the tracker they chose was actually helping them, with 21% not seeing any difference in their weight or fitness levels, 20% not seeing how it was helping and 16% stating the one they chose didn’t give them the information they needed.
Fitness expert Matt Roberts states: “We clearly see from the results of this research that although most Brits are keen to remain fit and healthy, generally they seem at a loss for how to reach their fitness goals and what metrics they should be using to reach those. There are so many different ways of measuring out there. From my experience working with different people and body types, simply monitoring your weight or BMI alone doesn’t give you the right information about your fitness level. For instance, muscle is heavier than fat so measuring your weight alone doesn’t tell you if you’re actually gaining muscle and losing fat. Body composition, which is the measure of the percentage of muscle mass and fat in your body, offers a much better alternative to stepping on a scale as this tells you exactly what you’re made of, so you can make more informed decisions about your exercise regime that will help you reach your fitness goals."
Highlighting this lack of knowledge, 64% of women and 36% of men underestimate what healthy levels of body fat are for their gender, believing that levels meant for professional athletes sound like a healthy average. Alongside this, more than one in five Brits (21%) believe that simply weighing themselves is an accurate gauge of how fit and healthy they are, which doesn’t take into account how much of that weight is fat versus muscle.
Other arguments for not reaching their goals include finding it tough sticking to a regime (53%), an inability to eat healthily (34%), making excuses not to exercise (32%) and being unable to find the time for regular exercise (18%).
European fitness
Despite 51% of Brits admit to a constant battle for weight management, the nation sits in fifth place behind Italy (77%), The Netherlands (73%), Spain (70%) and France (62%) when it comes to a desire to keep on top of their weight. The UK is also the least obsessed with checking their weight, with those from Italy (19%) and the Netherlands (17%) topping the charts for the most likely to hop on the scales on a daily basis.

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