(Manuel Faba Ortega)
Wouldn’t you think that your back has a lot to say. After all, it is usually just sitting, minding its own business and maybe help your jeans. But you would be surprised with what you can learn from your buttocks, from disease risk to how much you should (or have to) exercise (while you’re at it, check out these 4 things that you yawning to try to tell you). Here are just a few things that you can collect from your backside.
You’re less likely to develop certain chronic diseases.
Have a backyard with lots of padding? It is probably good news for your health. A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that a higher percentage of fat in your behind is correlated with a decrease in cardiovascular and metabolic risk. It is also associated with healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels (also adding these top 10 cholesterol fighting foods to your diet). Translation: A round booty can mean that you have a lower risk of developing heart disease, high cholesterol, or diabetes.
You are logging too much time in the gym.
If your butt is nonexistent, consider easing up on CrossFit and long distance running. “The glutes are the largest muscles in the body, and the muscle is the most metabolically active tissue,” says Brandon Mentore, a strength and conditioning coach in Philadelphia. “When the demand for energy is high enough, muscle tissue is broken down to comply with these requirements, and deflated ass often.” In other words, pancake ass could mean that you have moved from burning fat to melt away muscle, and that is not a good thing.
You are fiber deficit.
Hemorrhoids—swollen veins in your bottom, can lead to blood spotting when you go to the bathroom, and general discomfort when you sit for long periods of time. Although they can occur after childbirth, they are also often clogged people who have to strain to have a bowel movement. Try adding more vegetables and fruit to your diet, replace white foods with whole grain equivalents, and upping your H2O intake. (Here are 6 tasty ways to get more fiber.)
You sit too much.
You probably don’t need a study to tell you this, but research has shown that too much chair time can lead to a wider, flatter ass. That is because chained to your desk can lead to tight hip flexors and weak glutes. Take frequent breaks for walking or stretching, and strengthening exercises for your core and butt (such as single leg squats, bridges and planks in your exercise routine.
Practicing good posture can also help. Your knees should be even with or slightly lower than your hips, your monitor must be at eye level or slightly lower, and the hands are at or below the height of the elbow.
You need to see a doctor.
Form aside, what comes out of your behind matters a lot, because the bowel movements are a good indicator of the internal health and any changes can be a red flag. Blood in the stool should always be checked out, unless the result of hemorrhoids. Unusual consistency, scent and color can indicate an infection or treat a disorder, such as Celiac disease or a food intolerance. Frequent or persistent attacks of diarrhea could mean that a bowel bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. (Read more about what your poop says about you.) “Once it is identified, doctors can treat these conditions by changes in the diet and in some cases, medication,” says Cynthia Rudert, MD, a gastroenterologist in Atlanta.
This article originally appeared on Prevention.com.