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A Healthy Body Fat Percentage for Runners

author image Eleanor McKenzie
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.
A Healthy Body Fat Percentage for Runners
Stick to the healthy percentage or risk damaging your health. Photo Credit: matthewennisphotography/iStock/Getty Images

Individual sports require a specific body composition and with running, different types of runners will benefit from different body types. The ideal body fat percentage for runners varies between sprinters and distance runners. Runners also need to be aware that becoming too lean has a negative effect on your health.

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According to Asker Jeukendrup, M.D. and Michael Gleeson, M.D. in their book "Sports Nutrition," male marathon runners should range from 5 to 11 percent body fat and women 10 to 15 percent body fat. Women sprinters should aim for 12 to 20 percent and men for 8 to 10 percent. All women, whether runners or not, need extra body fat so that the reproductive hormones function properly.

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