DXA Body Scan

Thursday, 26th May 2011

I have just had the opportunity to have a Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry scan (or DXA for short). Tara, Skye and Kate from Health Management Dietetics arranged for myself and Grant Patterson (Scooter) to have the scan up at Atherton earlier this afternoon.

Essentially the DXA scan is a valuable tool to help you monitor your bone density, fat and muscle over time. Personally I find this level of information "Gold", as it helps me plan and prepare for different racing formats. It also highlights areas that may need work. For example, in preparing for the Challenge Cairns I have built more muscle mass in certain areas, particularly my legs. This is obviously due to the amount of cycling. Part of the function of the scan actually picks up discrepancies between the left and right hand sides of your body, ie; more muscle mass in the right leg as opposed to the left leg. The aim is obviously to be as balanced across the body as possible. Too much in a certain area may lead to efficiency issues or cause unnecessary stress on other areas. Typically when I focus purely on running, I tend to lose the muscle bulk around the leg areas. It is interesting to see over time how the body changes and adapts to the dominant form of exercise one is doing at that time. It is ever changing. It is also interesting to note the bone density readings in athletes that compete in running or cycling vs. pure swimming. The higher the impact sport, generally the denser the bone is.

So in summary, I think that a scan of this nature is an extremely valuable tool in bringing awareness to how ones body operates and what actually happens below all that skin. This is a snap shot of what we are underneath. The more we understand it, hopefully the kinder we will be to it.

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