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Getting in shape for a marathon

The famous running track of 42.195 kilometers has an almost magical appeal for many ambitious runners. Often regarded as a the ultimate milestone, tens of thousands of amateurs and professionals will gather around the globe to undertake this physical and psychological challenge during the coming months.

Participating in a marathon challenges the body in many ways, and requires sufficient training and proper preparation. Before the start of the training, an extensive medical evaluation is highly recommended, as participating in the marathon can have serious health consequences – particularly in regards to diseases of the cardiovascular system. Regular medical checkups not only minimize the health risks a runner is exposed to, but they can also effectively benefit a runner’s training.

In the beginning, the GP can assess a runner's level of fitness by determining the strength of their cardiovascular and respiratory system as well as their overall body composition. The seca mBCA provides a fast and non-invasive method for the exact measurement of the body composition. In just a few seconds, it measures the amount of fat and muscle mass, and with the aid of other parameters, it provides a general overview of the athlete's health.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) can help identify whether the athlete might be overweight or underweight. However, its use is limited in athletic patients, as an increased weight can also be based on larger muscle proportion. This means that the BMI will, most likely, not reflect their actual constitution. The direct measurement of the individual body components offers more reliable information. Seca mBCA's body composition chart (BCC) gathers the measurement results in a concise diagram, putting the data in relation to the age-appropriate standard values, ​​and simplifies their interpretation. In addition to the total muscle mass, seca mBCA can also be used to measure the muscle content of each individual limb as well as the torso.

Generally, when endurance athletes are in an overall good training condition, their weight and BMI usually fall within the standard range. But, the analysis of their body composition reveals decreased fat and increased muscle proportions, particularly when assessing the muscles of their lower extremities. Through the use of our seca mBCA, a runner's physical constitution can be closely monitored and their training can be specifically improved. Our seca mBCA thus represents an important foundation for professional and amateur athletes to prepare for a marathon or other athletic performance, and to achieve the best possible results.

You can learn more about the use of the seca mBCA when preparing for a marathon in our case study.