Figure and body shape are hot topics in society today, with everyone taking quizzes across the internet to determine if they’re a pear, apple, hourglass, inverted triangle, etc. The list goes on and on, and the seemingly endless descriptions for body shape can be confusing and often demeaning. However, there is some merit to understanding your own body and where you are likely to store fat. Just as no two fingerprints are the same, no two bodies are the same, and it is impossible to place each neatly into some fruit category. But, knowing what your general proportions say about your health shouldn’t cause you to feel shame or envy those with other body shapes, instead, you should feel empowered to cultivate a diet and exercise routine that helps keep your body working at its best.
With that said, let’s explore a few of the most common body types and what yours might say about your health.
Those with the body shape known as apple tend to collect more weight in the hips and stomach area. Generally, their legs and upper body stay thin, and there is usually a weight disparity as it is not evenly distributed through the body. Men are the most common examples of the apple shape as they typically develop what is known as a “beer belly” as they age.
Potential health issues: The apple shape is one of the most concerning as it indicates an unhealthy lifestyle and poor diet choices. Apple shaped people tend to develop more issues like colon cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease due to excess visceral fat build up. This is because the fat goes deeper than surface level and can cling to essential organs, causing severe health issues if left unchecked.
The good news: Thankfully, this extra fat clinging to your midsection is easy to shed when you are committed to a healthy diet and routine exercise. When caught early enough, detrimental health issues related to extra fat are unlikely to develop. Cardio activities such as swimming, bicycling and jogging are excellent options. If you have a busy lifestyle and are unable to find the time for a consistent routine, try simple activities such as taking the stairs whenever you can or getting out for a brisk walk even a few times a week. Any activity is better than none!
To understand the pear shape, it is helpful to think of something almost the opposite of an apple shape. Individuals with this body type are likely to put on weight in their hips, butt, and thighs. They will usually have a defined waist and smaller upper body.
Potential health issues: This type of fat is generally harder to ditch than visceral fat and is known as “passive fat.” It typically just hangs around and is unlikely to dissipate with simple lifestyle changes. Pear-shaped people may experience conditions such as joint disease or varicose veins.
The good news: Passive fat is not nearly as detrimental to your health as visceral fat and may cause no health problems. It could only be that this is your body shape and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is still imperative that you stick to a healthy lifestyle to avoid gaining unnecessary pounds, but if you notice yourself getting a little thicker from the waist down, you do not need to be immediately concerned. Try monitoring your fat intake carefully to avoid developing this clingy adipose. Perform exercises specifically for the lower body such as strength training. You may never lose your shape entirely, but converting fat into muscle will help keep your body healthy and active.
Most people with this shape are relatively athletic and muscular. They usually have broad, strong shoulders and a small waist.
Potential health issues: This is one of the healthiest shapes as it is unlikely that a person with this shape is storing excess fat. However, those with this body shape may experience heart disease difficulties when exposed to a high-fat diet. It is possible that health issues may not show themselves as fat collection in this person. They may be incredibly unhealthy and not even know it because their external appearance remains the same.
The good news: Keeping this body shape is relatively easy with regular exercise, and these people tend to have higher metabolisms that allow them to process fat and sugar better. Remain in top physical condition by focusing on leg and lower body exercises such as squatting and lunging. Also, perform regular high-intensity cardio exercise to ensure a defined midsection.