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Sometimes Size Matters

Filed Under: Men's Health at 1:23 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
RowersChoosing a sport should ultimately be a matter of enjoyment. You should opt for an activity that makes you happy. Otherwise, exercise will become synonymous with dread, mental anguish and torture, none of which are strong motivators. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t account for other factors when narrowing the field. Gender and age, for example, make certain sports more difficult. An elderly woman will find that football is definitely not the activity for her, while a young boy probably harbors yoga-hesitation. It’s not a judgment; it’s a fact of life. Sex and youth affect what you play best, and so does size. 

Body shape is a key determinant in sports aptitude. Different heights, weights and builds excel at different activities. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that. All you have to do is scan the arenas that house professional teams. Very few all-star basketball players are five-five, just as very few lineman weigh in at less than 250 pounds. The same types of rules apply to all sports. Running, rowing, swimming and cycling are made easier by a body’s curve or lack there of. Therefore, when choosing a sport, you may want to take a look in the mirror before selecting. But once you do, how do you know which activity coincides with your build?

To help you out, here are a few examples of common exercises and their best-bet shapes. 

• Running – speed relies on one’s ability to lift his/her body and propel forward. More weight is going to make that more difficult. Thus, the best runners are tiny – small height, small weight.
• Rowing – you would think that you would want to be on the lighter side. After all, you don’t want to weigh down the scull, but don’t forget that the water is buoying you. So, light-weight isn’t a bonus; it’s a detriment. You want muscle. It will allow you to breathe in more oxygen and generate more power. For rowing, bigger is better.
• Swimming – here’s another instance where you want a little more size. The best swimmers, Michael Phelps for instance, are long and muscular. If you’re swimming for endurance, some fat couldn’t hurt the situation, either. It will insulate and fuel your body, as you streak through the water.
• Cycling – think aerodynamics. You want to cut through the wind not struggle with your bulk. As with long-distance running, cycling is best for the small.

If your body doesn’t fit into your favorite sport’s mold, don’t fret. There’s more to doing well than size. You can be the best runner in the world and still be 6 feet tall. Besides, it really is having fun that counts.

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