In a world where athleticism and lean muscle are championed as high achievements, some people hold their bodies to an impossible standard. Most people try to emulate an imagined ideal, but few consider what their bodies can actually do.
Each person is unique. Just because someone has dreamed of playing football from childhood does not mean it is the best sport for him to pursue. Finding the sport your body is best suited for can make a big difference in enjoyment of the game and skill in competition.
There are three main body types. Serious athletes and many personal trainers rate these more specifically through a process called somatotyping. However, these are the general sports recommendations for the three types:
A person with an ectomorph body type is tall and slender with little fat or muscle. His shoulders, chest and hips are narrow. He has thin arms and legs. Ectomorphs have trouble gaining weight due to a fast metabolism. It takes longer for them to build muscle. In simple terms, the ectomorph body shape is much like a rectangle.
The slighter build of an ectomorph makes him more susceptible to injury. Thermo regulation comes more easily for them than for the other body types making ectomorphs dominant in endurance sports. Marathon running, swimming and soccer are excellent choices for them. If an ectomorph is tall, basketball may also be a great option. Ectomorphs also generally do well in gymnastics.
Mesomorph body types are the stereotypical image of an athlete. Their arms and legs are muscular, and they have broad shoulders. Their hips are narrow, and they carry very little body fat. Mesomorphs can gain or lose weight easily and build muscle quickly. Most mesomorphs look mature for their age. A man’s shape is like a triangle placed upside down or a wedge. A woman who is a mesomorph type has the much-coveted hourglass shape.
A person with a mesomorph body type has more of a choice of sports. They can easily do well at many of them. Since they lose or gain weight easily, they can adjust to the requirements of different sports. Possibilities range from weightlifting and boxing to athletic sprinting and cycling for shorter distances.
A person who is an endomorph naturally carries more body fat. It is difficult for him to lose weight, but he gains muscle rapidly. A high waist and a short stature give him the illusion of having a thicker abdomen than other types. His upper arms and thighs are more developed than the lower portions. A general way to describe an endomorph’s shape is round and soft or like a pear.
While it may seem on the surface that an endomorph is not going far athletically, they can excel at power sports because of their larger mass. Wrestling, discus, and shot-put are a few Olympic sports which are good for an endomorph. This body type is not generally suited for agility and speed, but strength activities like power lifting can be a great fit.
A Few Extra Considerations
It is important to note that the three body types are extremes. No one is 100 percent ectomorph or completely endomorph. Everyone is a bit of a mix. For more specific typing, it is necessary to obtain a somatotype measurement by a professional.
Another key point when deciding on a sport for your body type is that genetics plays a large part but not the total in the decision making process. Training, diet and environment also contribute to athletic ability.
When finding a sport that is right for you, know your capabilities. However, choose a sport you enjoy. As Dr. Sears says, “The best exercise is the one that you will do!”
Sarah writes for allpro about sports, the NFL.