Little-known fact: The shape of a person's body-Hourglass, Spoon, Cone or Ruler*—dictates the type of exercise he/she should be performing to get health and fitness benefits.
Solution: A six-year medical study shows that by selecting exercises according to your body type, you can begin to address the built in imbalances of your body.**
What’s Your Body Type?
Your body type has nothing to do with how tall, short, slim or chunky you are. It has to do with where your weight—both fat and muscle—accumulates on your body. Your body is most likely…
- Hourglass—if you carry most of your weight in your upper and lower body...and there's a significant difference (six inches or more) between the circumference of your chest and waist or between your hips and waist.
- Spoon—if you carry most of your weight in your hips, thighs and buttocks.
- Cone—if you carry most of your weight in your back, chest, arms and stomach
- Ruler—if there's not much difference in the circumference of your chest, waist and hips... and you tend to put on weight around your midsection.
If you're not sure of your body type: You're probably overweight. Follow the recommendations below for the Hourglass body type until you've lost some of your weight. As you slim down, your natural shape will emerge.
*These body types are registered trademarks of Exude, Inc., and the fitness prescriptions for them are patented.
**Check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
About 40% of women and 20% of men have an Hourglass body type. People with this type require exercises that burn fat without adding muscle mass in the upper and lower body areas.
Main aerobic exercises: Jump rope...stationary bicycling with low resistance (level 1 to 3)...jumping jacks...fast walking (a pace of 3 to 45 mph) on a flat surface...elliptical machines with no resistance.
Main resistance exercises: Weight machines with light weights (10 pounds or less for the upper body and less than 25 pounds for the lower body) and a high number of repetitions (25 to 50 per exercise)...upper-body exercises with a four-pound aerobic (weighted) bar (for women) or 12- to 15-pound aerobic bar (for men)...leg extensions with light weight and high repetitions (25 to 50 per exercise).
Exercises to avoid…
Aerobic: Step classes...spinning classes... high-impact aerobics.
Resistance: Any upper- or lower-body exercises using high resistance or weights.. any exercise using ankle weights.
About 30% of women and 10% of men have a Spoon body type. Spoons require exercises that quickly burn fat in the lower region of the body and build muscle in the upper region.
Main aerobic exercises: Jump rope...stationary bicycling with low resistance (level 1 to 3) and high revolutions per minute (90 to 120)... fast walking (3 to 45 mph) on a flat surface.
Main resistance exercises: Upper-body exercises with moderate to heavy weights (10 pounds or more) and low repetitions (8 to 10 per exercise).. lower-body exercises with low resistance (less than 25 pounds) and high repetitions (25 to 50 per exercise).
Exercises to avoid...
Aerobic: Elliptical machines and stair climbers... Rollerblading...swimming...long-distance running...spinning...step classes.. high-impact aerobic classes.
Resistance: Squats.. lunges..leg presses... any lower-body exercises with moderate to high resistance or weights.
About 30% of men and 10% of women have a Cone body type. Cones need to concentrate on building bulk in the lower body and endurance in the abdomen and upper body.
Main aerobic exercises: Spinning...stair climbers...stationary bicycling with moderate to high resistance (level 4 or higher)...slow walking (3 mph or less) on an incline or hills...step classes.
Main resistance exercises: Leg presses, leg extensions and leg curls (done on weight machines) using moderate to heavy resistance (50 pounds or more) and low repetitions (8 to 10 per exercise)...upper-body exercises with low resistance (10 pounds or less) and high repetitions (25 to 50 per exercise)—especially pushups, pull-ups and dips.
Main flexibility exercises: Hamstring and upper-body stretches.
Exercises to avoid…
Aerobic: Rowing...aerobic or step classes using hand weights.
Resistance: Any upper-body exercises with moderate to high resistance or weights.
Approximately 40% of men and 20% of women have a Ruler body type. Rulers need to focus on building muscle and overall strength.
Main aerobic exercises: Step classes... spinning... stationary bicycling or elliptical machines with moderate to high resistance (level 7 to 15)...walking on an incline or hills (3.7 to 4.3 mph)...swimming.
Main resistance exercises: Squats, lunges and leg presses...all upper and lower-body exercises using moderate to heavy resistance or weights (10 pounds or more for the upper body, 50 pounds or more for the lower body) and low repetitions (8 to 10 per exercise).
Main flexibility exercises: Hamstring and quadriceps stretches.
Exercises to avoid...None.
Inactivity Raises Disease Risk—Quickly
Researchers asked 18 healthy men to reduce the number of steps they took daily from either 6,000 or 10,000 steps to about 1,400 steps by using a car or elevators.
Result: After two weeks, the men had higher levels of blood sugars and fats that raise risk for diabetes, heart disease and other diseases.
Theory: When excess blood fats and sugars don't clear the bloodstream quickly-a process promoted by exercise-they can adversely affect metabolic functions
Self-defense: Aim to exercise for at least 30 minutes (in at least five-minute segments) most days of the week.