Often times, most gym goers, fitness instructors and even medical practitioners are mostly concerned about the body weight, only few among this set of people are concerned about how fat is distributed all through the body. The distribution of fat in the body determines the shape the body will take, "but few people understand the effect the body shape has on the current health and risk of future diseases" , says Marie Savard, MD, an ABC News medical contributor.
Large number of studies have elucidated that it is the waist size and body shape rather than how much one weighs or tip the scale that best predicts the risk for a number of chronic diseases. For example, a study from one of Savard publications on ABC News found that while only half of the obese patients studied had metabolic abnormalities that placed them at much greater risk of heart disease, a full quarter of the normal weight adults had these same worrisome metabolic risk as well. The question now is, "Why the risk in normal weight adults? Experts concluded that waist size may be much more important in determining heart risk than body weight. A normal weight individual can have a greater waist size, therefore being proned to greater health risk than an overweight but smaller waist.
At this point, you may start to ask yourself, "What is Apple vs Pear Body Shape". It refers to where fat is stored in your body, it could be above the waist, on your upper body (Apple shaped body) or below the waist, on your lower body (Pear shaped body).
THE APPLE (ANDROID OBESITY) Fat is vital for survival because it stores food energy and because it helps regulate body functions. Fats are mostly stored in two(2) main varieties in the body, the Subcutaneous fat, located under the skin; and the Visceral fat or abdominal fat, which packs itself around the inner organs of the abdomen. Visceral fat is not always seen from the outside, it jams up against the intestines, kidneys, pancreas and liver and sometimes even inside the liver, thus showing the shape of an APPLE. Hence, individual who stores fat around this organs are usually pictured as having an apple-like body shape. The apple shape is otherwise referred to as ANDROID OBESITY. All humans have some visceral fat because it protects the internal organs, acting as shock absorber in case of accident or trauma, and as insulator to help conserve body heat when the weather is cold. However excess visceral fat can be hazardous because the fat disturbs the normal function of these organs, thereby predisposing the body to illness related to obesity, like cardiovascular problems (heart diseases, high blood pressure, even stroke), metabolic syndrome, higher level of stress, increased inflammation of the body, certain cancers, such as breast and endometrial cancer and the ever popular type 2 diabetes.
THE PEAR (GYNOID OBESITY) Fats is also stored as subcutaneous fat, this type of fat is always easy to see because they are stored closer to the surface. Subcutaneous fat may be visible and infuriating, but it relatively harmless. As a matter of fact, fat in the pear zone, that is, hips, thighs and buttocks helps protect diseases and is hard to lose. This set of people that stores fat at the hip, thighs and buttocks areas usually have a rounded hip and an unusually larger than normal buttocks, hence showing the shape of a pear. The pear shape is otherwise referred to as GYNOID OBESITY. But despite this features, gynoid obese individuals (pear shape individuals) are said to be at much safer position than the android obese individuals, for, they are less at risk of developing chronic illness linked to obesity and overweight. Some of the problem associated with the pear body shape are, osteoporosis, varicose vein, cellulite, menopausal hot flashes.
FIGURING OUT YOUR BODY SHAPE Well, that is quite simple, you don't need to visit a doc nor the gym for that. All you need is a tape and a small calculator. First, measure around your waist to get your waist circumference. If you have a visible waist, measure around the smallest part. If you don't have an obvious waist, measure around the largest part of your middle, or about one inch above your navel. Next, measure around the widest part of your lower bottom to get your hip circumference. Divide the first number by the second to get your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). FOR WOMEN, If your WHR is 0.80 or less, you are a pear, this implies that you are at lesser risk of chronic illness. If your WHR is greater than 0.80, you are an apple and the implication of this is that you are at higher risk of chronic illness. FOR MEN, A WHR of greater than 0.90 means you are an apple and this implies that you are at increased risk chronic illness. If your WHR is 0.90 or less you are at lesser risk.
FITNESS AND WELLNESS TIPS The best way to manage your body shape is to take a balance diet and control it, know when and when not to eat, know what to eat and what not to eat. Also, you have to balance the energy intake and energy expenditure. Below are some of the tips to follow,
Apple Body Shape Apples are already proned to having high blood sugar which can be an indicator of diabetes and heart diseases, so they need to watch their carbohydrates intake. Favour complex carbohydrates which are rich in fiber, like oatmeal, whole grains, take beans, fruits (limit the very sweet ones like banana, watermelon, grapes and pineapple), make sure you take vegetables too. Engaging yourself in physical activities and/or exercise is also crucial because it can rev up your metabolism and increase the calorie you burn. Engage in 30-40 minutes aerobic exercise session at least three(3)times per week. Running, jogging, biking are good for you. Also, do some strength workout, like the crunches, especially the vertical leg crunches to strengthen your ab muscles. Do some total-body strength training to help tighten your core and burn the flab, at least two times in a week.
Pear Body Shape
The best way for pears to lose inches is to watch their fat intake. A diet rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain cereals, lentils and beans;lean proteins, such as skinless chicken or fish, fruits and vegetables will help melt the excess fat, try as many as bone-strengthening calcium rich foods, because with your shape, you are at higher risk of osteoporosis. Exercise is very crucial, through exercise you can burn thr fat, focus on aerobic activities like running and biking thay work your lower body, do some lunge twist amd step hop if you can, like 10 reps in 2 sets. At least 30 minutes cardio exercise session a week with two strength training workout to build your upper body, which will balance up the appearance of a bottom-heavy figure. Always remember that the more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism.
Lastly, accept your body shape, remember it houses your soul and mind, carry it with dignity because it is your asset, don't be embarrassed by it and most importantly take good care of it.