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What's Your Type?
An old cliche for getting to know someone in a new social situation entails asking, "What's your sign?" The notion, of course, is that a simple identifier such as astrological sign would provide grounding for a potential relationship - romance, friendship, or even a new bowling partner. As there are only twelve signs of the zodiac, the odds were good that you'd be able to make something out of your respective astrological signs and go from there. Many marriages, businesses, and contract bridge teams can trace their origins to what were considered favorable astrological pairings.
Although many believe that astrology can offer sound advice regarding matters of health and well-being, there are other more quantifiable categorizations that do impact your health and are backed by reproducible scientific study and research. One such series classifies physical body type into three groupings - ectomorphic, mesomorphic, and endomorphic. These body types are termed somatotypes. This useful classification is both predictive and prescriptive with respect to a person's current and future levels of health.1
Ectomorphs are those people who are relatively long and lean. Ballet dancers, competitive figure skaters, and distance runners are almost always ectomorphs. Fashion models are usually ectomorphs, as are many professional beach volleyball players. In baseball, shortstops, second basemen, and center fielders are typically ectomorphs. The character Dr. Gregory House is a typical ectomorph.
Mesomorphs are those people who are more heavily muscled. In football, running backs, linebackers, and safeties are usually metamorphs. Powerlifters are metamorphs, as are shotputters, discus and javelin throwers, and sprinters. Star Trek's Lieutenant Worf is a typical metamorph.2
Endomorphs are those people who have proportionately more body fat than muscle, with more of the body mass concentrated in the abdominal area. Endomorphs are more typically engaged in sedentary occupations. The fictional detective Nero Wolfe and Count Fosco of Wilkie Collins's "The Woman in White" are famous endomorphs.
Overall, mesomorphs are characterized by musculoskeletal robustness and endomorphs are characterized by subcutaneous adipose tissue accumulation.3 In comparison to either group, ectomorphs are characterized by an increased tendency to musculoskeletal injury, including muscle and tendon strains and joint and ligament sprains. Overall, there is an increased risk for cardiovascular disease in those who are thin as well as in those who are more-than-moderately obese.
Chiropractic care can provide benefit to persons of any body type. By optimizing the flow of health-promoting information between your nerve system and the rest of your body, chiropractic care helps you function at peak efficiency. Your body type is a physical expression of the interaction between your genetic inheritance and innumerable environmental factors. Regular chiropractic care helps you make the most out of your physical structure and helps improve your health and well-being.
1Yeung EH, et al: Childhood size and life course weight characteristics in association with the risk of incident type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, March 9, 2010 (Epub ahead of print)
2Singh AP, Singh SP: Somatotypic variations. An analysis of some traditional occupation. J Hum Ecol 19(4):249-251, 2006
3Peeters MW, et al: Heritability of somatotype components: a multivariate analysis. Int J Obesity 31:1295-1301, 2007
We talk with Paul Holbrook of Age Performance about the importance of making sure your body is functioning correctly before beginning a workout program.
Are You Ready for Your Resolutions? from Salt Lake Chiropractic on Vimeo.
Yours in Health,
Shannon Parisi, DC & Suzanne Cronin, DC