Many of us make new year resolutions to get fit, but fall off the bandwagon in the first few weeks of January! Often we give up because we don’t see the results we want as fast as we want. Sometimes this is because we are being unrealistic, but other times it’s because we are doing the wrong body type workouts. That’s why it’s so important to know the different sets of exercise for body types which impacts our body shape, physical ability and our fitness goals! Some of us are more suited to gentle low impact exercises, while others are ready to go with fast-paced high impact exercises.
Break a sweat with high impact exercises
High impact exercise is an excellent way to get fit and also has a whole range of health benefits. All body type workouts that get your heart rate up will improve bone density and strengthen heart and lungs – these are called high impact exercises.
Keeping fit and healthy can also improve balance and coordination as well as help to prevent obesity, diabetes and some cancers. High impact exercises involve more direct force on the body. Aside from running and contact sports (like Aussie’s beloved footy!) – there are loads of ways to get your blood pumping:
While high impact exercise is a great way to get fit and burn those extra calories, it might not be the right approach for you. This is where getting advice from a personal trainer or exercise physiologist can be beneficial. For example, it may not be best for you to try high impact activities if you have preexisting joint pain or injuries. Similarly, if you are new to exercise, your PT may feel it’s better to ease you into working out.
The down-low on low impact exercises
Low impact exercise is less intense and places a lot less stress on the body. But that doesn’t mean that it offers lower health benefits! Low impact exercise are body type workouts that are excellent for the elderly as well as pre- and post-natal women. Low impact activities like swimming are also great for those who are injured, in pain or in a physical rehabilitation program.
Think of it like this: low impact exercises generally mean that one foot is always in contact with the ground (or water). Whether you’re walking or simply going for a bike ride, low impact is a great starting point for your fitness journey. Other low impact exercises include certain forms of yoga, pilates, climbing stairs and using the elliptical trainer.
Another thing to keep in mind is that low impact can be high intensity. Impact is the force placed on your body, while intensity is the level of difficulty or focus. So you can ramp up your workout without running a marathon. You could simply power walk, dance or do walking lunges with hand weights.
Which one is for me?
Low impact workouts are perfect for relieving stress and strengthening your core. On the other hand, high impact exercises promote weight loss and cardiovascular health. Typically, your PT, exercise physiologist or someone in a physiotherapy clinic will assess your body’s ability and your personal goals before determining what’s best for you. Often, you will find that your fitness plan includes a mixture of both.
Ready to tick off your fitness goals? Book in with a PT, exercise physiologist or physiotherapist and get the tailored health and fitness advice for you! Incorporating both low and high impact exercises in your routine allows you to get a well-rounded workout. That way you’re targeting all your muscles and allowing yourself some recovery time too.
Do bear in mind though, that you should proceed with caution if you tick one or all of the below mentioned conditions regardless of which body type workouts you choose:
- Haven’t exercised in a long time
- Recovering from a long-term illness or injury
- Are overweight or obese
- Have medical issues that make it difficult to exercise
Exercise for body types should only be started once you have received the all clear from your doctor or a suitable medical professional. Always consult your doctor or an exercise psychologist if there is any doubt in your mind.
Know your body type
There are primarily three broad classifications of human body types. These body types are the result of your genetic makeup, which is why you cannot change the body type you are born with. However you can definitely alter your shape and physique by practicing the right body type workouts for your category.
You are likely to experience results with all types of workouts but if you follow the correct exercise for body types of your category you are likely to experience faster and better results in the long run.
The three different body types are:
If you have an ectomorph body type, then you struggle to put on weight regardless of how much food you chow down. The primary fitness goals for most ectomorphs is healthy weight gain through bulking up muscle mass. An ectomorph has the following body characteristics:
- Elongated limbs
- ‘Ruler shaped’ body
- Tall with a slender neck
- Narrow shoulders
- Thin ankles and wrists
- Low levels of body fat and poor muscle definition
- Tapering hips
These individuals are the ‘middle ground’ when it comes to the different body types and hence they can consider a mix of exercise for body types. You’re likely to be a mesomorph if you have more or less remained within an average weight range most of your life. Mesomorphs do not struggle with weight gain as much as ectomorphs but may be susceptible to weight gain as they age. The primary fitness goals for a mesomorph are maintaining healthy weight, building muscle mass and ensuring optimal health. The defining characteristics of mesomorphs are:
- Wider shoulders
- ‘Hourglass’ shape
- Long but well defined legs
- Low levels of body fat but average muscle definition
- Narrow waist
- Tapered ankles and wrists but not as much as ectomorphs
You know you are an endomorph if you struggle the most with fitness and weight loss. Endomorphs have the advantage of being stronger and more muscular than the other two body types but the disadvantage of this is that weight gain is easier. This is why their primary fitness goal is usually weight loss. The typical bodily features of an endomorph are:
- Wide hips extending out to shoulder width
- Shorter but muscular limbs
- ‘Apple’ or ‘pear’ shape
- Prominent chest
- Chubby face
- High body fat levels
- Thick ankles and wrists
As you try to figure out the right exercise for body types, you may realize that you cannot clearly identify with only one of the body types. That is completely natural as most individuals tend to have characteristics from two out of the three types. If this is the case for you, the body type workouts for you will be a mix of the different types.
Exercise for body types
Exercise for body types are as follows:
Exercise for ectomorphs
Gaining strength and adding muscle mass are the primary goals for most ectomorphs. The body type workouts most suited for an ectomorph is strength training, also known as weight training, to allow them to bulk up their wiry frame.
If you are an ectomorph, keep cardio activities to a minimum. Use cardio to improve cardiovascular health and as a way to warm up and cool down during those strength building sessions. To help gain muscle mass and weight, do heavy weight training, focusing less on reps and more on the amount of weight being lifted. It is recommended that you do more isolated rather than compound exercises.
Exercise for mesomorphs
Mesomorphs may have varying fitness goals, ranging from losing weight to putting on some muscle. Regardless of the body type workouts you pick, plan your workout to maintain a balanced approach to ensure optimal health and wellbeing.
Balance can be established by mixing in cardio sessions (three sessions a week is recommended) with strength training for the rest of the week. The cardio sessions should be between 15-30 minutes long. This is long enough to ensure optimal cardiovascular health and burn excess fat. Weight training can be either in the form of high or low impact exercise for body types.
Exercise for endomorphs
If you’re an endomorph, you’re most likely focusing on weight loss as a primary concern. Therefore the body type workouts most suited for endomorphs are those which burn through a large number of calories in a short amount of time. However cardio should not be the sole form of exercise for body types.
While the frequency of cardio is necessary, what is more important is the intensity of your workout. It should be grueling enough to push your heart rate up, which makes exercises like swimming and elliptical bikes one of the better options for endomorphs. When it comes to strength training, your aim should be to do compound exercises with lower weight and higher reps for maximum calorie burn.
Workout is secondary, diet is primary
While your specific diet depends on your body type, balanced meals and whole foods are important for every individual regardless of body type. Even if you are diligent about working out and have found the perfect body type workouts and exercise for body types you may not see results if your diet is bad.
Here are some diet tips for your body type:
Diet for ectomorphs
Ectomorphs have a high rate of metabolism and therefore will need to consume more calories when trying to put on weight and muscle mass. This does not mean making unhealthy food choices. It is still important to focus on healthy foods and choose healthy complex carbs and energy-dense foods.
Diet for mesomorphs
Mesomorphs tend to be of average build and so will require a healthy mix of complex carbs and good sources of protein. They are more susceptible to weight gain than ectomorphs so should keep their caloric consumption in check to stave off the excess fat.
Diet for endomorphs
Endomorphs have no trouble putting on weight and so their struggle is less about the food and more about how to eat. If you are an endomorph, you should aim to consume lower calories. This means never waiting till you are very hungry to eat and never eating till you’re completely full. Foods high in fibre and lower in energy-density are the best way to keep hunger pangs at bay for longer periods of time. Avoid all forms of sugar, junk food and alcohol.