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Tanya Wyatt, Happy Valley pond

Have you ever found yourself wondering what physical activities you might be good at? Your body shape can actually tell you what type of activity is best suited to you and your body type, helping to make the most of your natural talents.  There are three basic body shapes – mesomorph, ectomorph and endomorph.  In between these three are ‘blends’, of their characteristics.

A good way to determine your body type is to clasp your thumb and middle finger of one hand around the wrist of your other arm.  If your finger overlaps your thumb, it’s likely you are an ectomorph.  Should your fingers touch, chances are you’re a mesomorph.  If neither touch you’re probably an endomorph.


People with this body type are generally muscular, with shoulders broader than their waists.  Their abdomens tend to be firm and their hips narrow, with lower extremities that are fairly toned and defined.  They can have a tendency to store as much fat as they have muscle, but losing excess body fat isn’t as much of an issue as it is for other types, due to a high ratio of muscle mass (and thus a high metabolism).

When it comes to learning new sports or physical activities requiring athletic skill, these types do very well.

Exercise tip: take part in an exercise programme that offers a variety of intensities and activities.  In terms of sports, select those involving power, strength and short energy bursts like gymnastics, sprinting and martial arts.


They are generally quite slim with long extremities and a narrow pelvis.  They tend to have less fat and muscle than other body types and, due to a naturally high metabolic rate, struggle to put on weight and/or muscle mass.

However, it doesn’t follow that they shouldn’t exercise, or that they’ll have a healthy body composition; in fact they should exercise to ensure optimal health.

Exercise tip: although naturally gravitating towards endurance activities, you would benefit from including some resistance training for muscle strength.  Sports enjoyed might be volleyball, basketball, ballet, long distance running and diving.


These types are generally high body fat storers (due to a naturally slower metabolism) – tending to do so around either their waists or bottoms and thighs. 

Exercise tip: you would do well on a cardiovascular programme that encourages a low to moderate intensity initially (first 2 months), followed by high intensity interval training (over 20 minutes). Couple this with a resistance-training programme, in order to reduce excess body fat long term.

Since your body is strong from carrying extra weight, you’ll do well with strength activities and may enjoy sports that use your size beneficially, such as suspended water sports like water polo (your flotation will be good, due to higher, more buoyant body fat).

In this video, I talk about the problem with not having a specific goal in mind when you train. Just hoping that with “enough” exercise, you’ll achieve the body you want won’t get you where you want to be.