The old adage about one’s insides being more important than their exterior is certainly vital when speaking of love, but when it comes to health, you may be surprised at how telling our looks can be. While the important stuff certainly happens on a level that our organs, vessels and synapses understand, we don’t have the privilege of being able to look inside our bodies without radiation, swallowing cameras or going under the knife. Therefore, examining the way our bodies look can play a pivotal role in discerning potential health hazards, and our legs are key players.
1. Size Matters; Leg Length
For athletes, having short legs and a longer torso can make for a beast of the field since one’s center of gravity will be lower. However, shorter legs can also put one at great risk for serious health complications.
A study conducted by the University of Bristol suggests that a man’s chance of developing heart disease can increase by as much as ten percent for each time a half-inch is shaved off of his leg length relative to other men with similarly proportioned abdomens. Conversely, women with shorter, stockier legs have been shown to have a higher presence of enzymes like alkaline phosphatase and alanine aminotransferase, enzymes associated with liver disease.
2. Embrace Cankles
Your calf size can play a role in how well your body metabolizes toxins. In fact, a 2009 study has shown that women with a calf circumference that’s less than thirteen inches may be at an increased risk for developing carotid plaque, which is directly connected to strokes. This theory relies on the fact that larger calves tend to be indicative of a higher volume of subcutaneous fat, which is instrumental in drawing harmful impurities away from our most vital organs.
So if you’ve ever looked at runway models with envy, you can feel more reassured that your legs aren’t so spindled thin. A well-developed calf may just become a vital tool in longevity.