Whether you’re carrying a bit of extra weight around your stomach, or overindulgence goes straight to your thighs, we all have parts of our bodies that may become “problem areas”. However, not many of us are aware of the effect our shape has on our health – as different figures can cause a range of issues, from heart disease to PMS. So, whether you’re an apple, pear or hourglass, here’s how your shape can affect your health and what you can do about it. It might be a few tiny diet changes or a slight adjustment to your exercise regime, but it can make a big difference.
Typically, people with an apple body shape are heavy in the middle and above the waist. However, while it may be easier to lose weight from the upper part of the body than the hips or thighs, carrying extra fat around your waist or belly can be particularly bad for your health. Research has found that apples are more likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
To combat this, experts suggest cutting back on carbs (such as white bread and pastries), snacking on dark chocolate if you need a sweet treat and basing your meals around protein-heavy ingredients such as chicken, turkey or fish. Cardio workouts are also highly recommended – such as swimming, cycling, jogging and weight training.
Lucky hourglass figures have one of the most enviable body shapes and tend to gain weight evenly throughout their body – with a large bust, full hips and small waist. Scientists believe that hourglass women are more fertile and less likely to suffer from depression. However, this doesn’t mean that they can rest easy when it comes to their health. For, the weight of large breasts can cause pains across the neck, shoulder and back, making it harder to exercise. Like all body shapes, hourglasses should limit processed foods, sugar and caffeine, to stay healthy. And they should embrace healthy fats from avocados, salmon, nuts, seeds and olive oil.
Pear shapes tend to have slim arms and shoulders and carry their weight around their thighs, hips and buttocks. They also may get a small pouch of fat around the lower abdomen. Luckily these areas provide a “safe storage” for fat and don’t damage organs such as the liver or heart – meaning less risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. However, pears need to be wary of varicose veins and degenerative knee and joint diseases. As extra weight in these areas can put pressure on the veins and cause the knees and joints to wear down more quickly.
Pears may also suffer more with PMS and fluid retention. As a result, pears are advised to avoid consuming too much fat and instead, should opt for foods such as grain breads, cereals, beans and lentils. Pears should also try and engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day – paying special attention to aerobic activity and toning their hips and thighs using squats and lunges.
Also known as the “carrot” shape, people with this figure have slims waists and hips, and broader shoulders and busts. It’s believed that they generally have extremely active adrenal glands – which speed up the metabolism and make it easier to stay slim. But while inverted triangles may look athletic, if they put on weight, then they are much more susceptible to heart disease and are also at great risk of developing osteoporosis. Experts recommend that inverted triangles should try and build up their bottom halves through exercise and consume a high amount of protein from foods like poultry and fish.
With figures like elongated rectangles, this body shape has small hips, breasts and an almost equal chest and waist circumference. Women who are straight up-and-down often find it easy to lose weight and have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer. However, they sometimes have low oestrogen levels, which can disrupt the menstrual cycle and raise the risk of endometriosis – which can make it difficult to conceive. To naturally boost the hormone, those with slim figures can eat flax seeds, soy and fruits such as strawberries and peaches.