Womens Health

Tailor Your Exercises to Your Body Shape

Just like our distinct body types we all also have different body shapes. What body shape you have depends upon the size of your physical features, the distribution of your body fat, and the overall balance of your body.  Men tend to have rectangular or cone shape bodies. Women tend have one of the four body shapes: hourglass, pear, apple or ruler. Read on to determine your body shape and the right exercises for you.

What's Your Body Shape?

Hourglass: You have a narrow waist and well-proportioned upper and lower bodies. Hourglass-shaped women tend to gain weight all over their body, particularly in their hips and chest area. Most of these women have the body types of endomorphs or mesomorphs.

Pear: You have a large lower body and a smaller upper body. If you're a pear, you'll find that your hips are a bit wider than your shoulders. If you gain weight it'll be on the lower half of your body. Most pear-shaped women have small chests, flat stomachs, and tend to be mesomorphs.

Apple: You have a larger upper body and a smaller lower body. Apple-shaped women will tend to have slim hips, but a large chest and stomach. If you gain weight, it'll show above the waist. Most of these women are mesomorphs or endomorphs.

Ruler: You have no real difference between the size of your hips, waists, and shoulders. You have slender arms and legs. If you gain weight it shows on your stomach and backside. Most women who are rulers have an ectomorph body type.

Tone Your Body Shape

We may not be happy with our body shape, but we can learn to love it and tone it by doing the right exercises.

If you are an Hourglass:

You should spend an equal amount of time doing cardio and resistance exercises. Cardio will keep the unwanted weight off. Resistance training will help you maintain a balance between your upper and lower body. Use lightweights to train, to avoid building up too much muscle mass and appearing bulky. Here are some exercises you can try without needing fancy equipment or a gym:

  • Jogging/ stationary biking
  • swimming
  • bicep curls, shoulder presses
  • squats

If you are a Pear:

You want to focus on exercises that balance the upper half of your body with your lower half.  You can tone the lower half of your body with aerobics exercises, and build the upper half of your body with lightweight resistance training with high repetitions.  Some good exercises to implement in your daily routine include:

  • walking
  • cycling
  • elliptical training
  • leg lifts
  • push ups

If you are an Apple:

You want to try toning down your upper half, and strengthening the lower body to balance out your chest and shoulders. Try low-resistance activities with low repetitions like the following:

  • stair climbing
  • walking on an incline
  • running
  • leg squats

If you are a Ruler:

So you want to do resistance training to gain muscle mass on your arms and legs? To target problem areas like the stomach or the buttocks, do cardio. Make sure you use all your muscle groups to maintain your symmetrical body shape. Some activities you can try include:

  • stretching
  • sit-ups
  • step classes
  • jogging on an incline
  • squats
  • bench presses

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