No,Having Bigger Biceps Does Not Make You More Conservative

Are Physically Stronger Men More Conservative ?

Science is not an entirely unbiased enterprise. Like any other form of academic subject it can be prone to error. While simple mistakes are understandable, pseudoscience is not. Then there is the tendency of news outlets and various media to misinterpret information or simply spread falsehoods. If there was a correlation between political affiliation and physical strength it should show in voting patterns. Such a phenomenon may not even be based on biology rather, the environments in which people are raised.Convictions and political positions are molded by culture, personal experiences, and the communities in which people live. Sometimes political beliefs are formed by the era and the zietgiest held by the people. This study was published by Physiological Science . It was called “The Ancestral Logic of Politics.” The study made the assertion that upper body strength regulates assertion in terms of economic self interest and wealth distribution. Originally published in 2013, the study echoes psychological pseudoscience of the 20th century. There seems to be at least some influence of constitutional psychology present in this peer reviewed work. However, a biological basis for behavior cannot be ignored. It is clear that human evolutionary history has an impact on behavior and the function of society. Science is not a completely unbiased or error free enterprise. This is why any theory must be put through the scientific method to prove it to be fact. Politics and economics go far beyond  biology and evolution.

        Upper body strength was pivotal to early hominids for the sake of fighting ability. The reason for sexual dimorphism was that it allowed males to compete with one another for mates. Theoretically, the largest hominids would have greater access to females and resources. The study notes that physical strength to a degree is not as relevant to advancing in society. Although this study focused on men, women should have been examined more. If physical strength plays a factor in political and economic ideology this pattern should be present in women. Logically, one would assume that women, who have less physical strength over all would them be more in favor of redistribution of wealth. What the study found was that men of higher socioeconomic status with higher upper body strength favored their privileged status. Men of lower socioeconomic status were favored redistribution. The study indicated  suggested that political decision making formed on the basis of evolutionary psychology. This was done to serve the needs of small scale groups. The problem is that the study only relies on men from the US, Argentina, and Denmark. Compared to the 193 countries that exist in the world, this sample may be too small to make such a statement. If these claims were true such political decision making would be present in Asia and Africa.  Three countries is simply not enough to make definite statements.

There has to be a sociological reason for why this does not work the same for women. It would be erroneous to say what the men and women’s politics are based on their physical strength. 

The study then mentions asymmetric war of attrition  model of  behavioral ecology. Fighting ability and strength were used to gain or regulate the decision making process prior to the rise of  advanced human civilization. What is seen in vertebrate species is that greater fighting ability means greater access to resources. Weaker animals are more willing to cede resources they cannot effectively defend. Humanity is different in the fact that cooperation was a pivotal part of its survival. This has relevance to human aggression. Women have been shown to be less aggressive in terms of direct physical confrontation. Through evolutionary history women had less to gain from physical confrontation compared to men. This may explain why women did not gain equal amounts of upper body strength as men, because it was an evolutionary trait that did not provide women an advantage. Upper body strength as well as aggression was found to play a role in decision making regarding conflict. This may partially explain why there is war and violence. The questions of leadership,economics, and politics have too many factors to be organized in a data chart, so this is why the study just discussed wealth and its distribution.

During the course of human biological evolution, female fighting ability was not as essential as a man’s. This theory may explain that particular element of sexual dimorphism. 

The experimental method also is critical. Although it cannot be ignored that there are biological basis for behavior, sociological factors cannot be discarded either. There also could have been a problems with measurement for the experiment.

       The measurement of upper body strength should be precise. What the experiment did was measure  the circumference of the bicep of the dominant arm of subjects when flexed. This according to one study cited is a predictor of fighting ability and upper body strength. Measuring biceps does not give a precise measure of upper body strength. Hand grip measures have been used, but that may not be as precise either. The best measure would be to see how much each individual can bench press. Simply having large muscles does not automatically mean a person is stronger. It is related to the distribution of type II fast twitch muscle fibers. These muscle fibers are better suited for physical acts that require explosive power. It is possible a person with bigger muscles may not be as strong as a person with less depending on their exercise regimen.

It is obvious who has the bigger biceps. Just looking at a person’s body measurement and strength level would produce anything about economic and political convictions. 

Making subjects do weight  lifting exercise would give a better measure of upper body strength. This experimental model used was survey. It should be assumed that the answers given were honest ones, but sometimes that is not always the case. This problem also occurs in polling. One question that was not answered is if upper body strength is a predictor of economic or political views, would these change if a person increases their upper body strength? If this theory was credible, it would try an experiment in which it would document the subject’s political views prior to embarking on a strength building regimen. Then they should be observed if  their political and economic views change based on changes to fitness level. This seems to be a question based in social science rather than biology. The study reached the conclusion that “as predicted, for men of high SES, the correlation between strength and support for redistribution was negative, whereas for men of low SES, the correlation was positive.” The results for women were completely different : ” regarding female subjects, nowhere was the interaction of upper-body strength and SES on support for economic redistribution statistically significant—Argentina: F(1, 87) = 1.38, p = .24; United States: F(1, 268) = 0.39, p = .54; Denmark: F(1, 366) = 0.12, p = .73 (two-tailed ps).” If this is the case more women should be more liberal  in terms of economic and social equality. Yet, there are women who favor conservatism and neoliberal capitalism.

Amy Holmes and Michelle Malkin are notable female conservatives active in various media outlets and political circles. The stronger women in these picture have more upper body strength, but this does not predict their political and economic views. 

Business Insider accurately explained that the results could be easily misinterpreted. The study explained further : “a key prediction derived from animal-conflict theory: Individuals with greater fighting ability (here, upper-body strength) should seek larger shares of contested resources. ” Then it makes the conclusion that “upper-body strength in modern adult men influences their willingness to bargain in their own self-interest over income and wealth redistribution.” Their seems to be an something that is missed here. It may be that people who see themselves or are more powerful are willing to bargain more. Such behavior merely means that people who are more powerful are willing to bully people in a weaker position. These findings mean that a ancient male behavior may be incompatible with democracy. This study has its limitations, but there is a major flaw. It may be reviving constitutional psychology.

           Constitutional psychology was a theory that personality correlates to body type. The somatotypes were developed by William Sheldon in the 20th century. Looking at this study from 2013, one would reach the conclusion the men of higher socioeconomic status and more upper body strength would be more aggressive. Measuring biceps would not be the best why to figure out whether or not people favor redistribution. Pseudoscience has never disappeared, rather is revived during certain periods. It is unfortunate that media and websites were so ready to use the study to suit their political position. This study is based on a theory of animal conflict and asymmetric war of attrition model. While some elements may be credible it should be remembered that political and social systems of humanity are complex. There are historical and sciobiological reasons why men have higher aggression levels. Convictions and philosophy are molded by the culture and society in which people live. Aggression in men was seen as a way to protect states from other conquers, which is why men were the ones that went off to war. The industrial revolution made mass production possible, which allowed societies to produce commodities without constant invasion and conquest. The negative consequence of that was that consumer culture caused the growth of imperialism to meet the demands of the public desire for particular resources. The study does not consider these factor and almost suggest that rational choice theory should not be considered as large of a factor. Not considering these  factors seems to suggest the dated and disproved constitutional psychology has some validity.

           What needs to be understood about America in particular in terms of economics, is that there still is faith in a supply-side system. Wealth redistribution a large portion of Americans equate to socialism, which they assume is an awful political ideology. What they confuse it for is totalitarian stalinist communism, which many Marxists reject as a degeneration of revolutionary ideals. There are nations that already have social democratic systems such as Sweden, Norway, and Finland. There American citizens who believe they can pull themselves up from the boot straps and become wealthy. This dream has been more of a fantasy with growing gaps between the rich and poor. The study showed that the stronger the person was the more they are likely to favor their own economic self interest. As Business Insider articulated ” stronger men had stronger opinions about politics.” The problem with rational choice theory is that it does not really explain why working class whites favor a Republican Party that does more for the rich. This is partly fueled by racism, xenophobia, and the economic impact of globalization. This is why Donald Trump was successful was that he promotes a message of economic nationalism,  while simultaneous playing on white working class race prejudice.  The upper class gentry favors him mainly do to the fact taxes will be reduced for them and regulations will be curtailed. Supply-side economics place most of the financial burden on the poor and middle class. The welfare state is demonized as being the cause of America’s debt and deficit. This myth has become accepted, but the real cause is America’s growing military budget. Maintaining a global presence and military force has resulted in a higher federal income tax and funds that the US cannot pay back. Economic philosophy is not shaped by upper body strength, it has to do with region, community, politics, and culture. The American dream myth has a hold on both liberal and conservative voters and politicians. Many still embrace the neoliberal capitalist system even though it is failing.

          Other variables could have influenced this study. Family structure influences political and economic ideology. This is the earliest form of political socialization. School also has an impact on an individual’s developing belief system. Even in democratic societies, their is a level of indoctrination in public schools. Children in elementary school are encourage to recite the pledge of allegiance and US history is emphasized over other social sciences. Community pressure and peer groups also influence political beliefs. There is also a divide among regions in the US. The US south has more of a conservative base due to the historical circumstances of the Civil War and the opposition to the federal government. Taking a look at Argentina, it was a country once ruled by  a military junta. Under Operation Condor the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance unleashed a wave of state terrorism against leftists or anyone who was opposing the government. It should be no surprise that right-wing views still persist. Denmark through a majority of its history was a monarchy, with a period in which counts ruled. Liberal politics did not come to the country until the 19th century and its modern welfare state did not emerge until the early 20th century. Events and peer groups can influence pubic opinion. The three nations surveyed have different histories, which should  be considered. It seems the  study may demonstrate something else rather than what it was attempting to prove. Men are constantly competing for status, which has basis in ancestral behaviors from the human evolutionary past. Sexual dimorphism enabled men to be fighters for resources and seeing as physical confrontation no longer determines that in modern society, it changed form. These are merely theories in psychology and biology in which there is not enough data to state as fact. This topic requires more experimentation and research.

No,Having Bigger Biceps Does Not Make You More Conservative

CNN: Can Sex Be A Workout ?

Can sex be a workout?

This health and wellness topic was originally posted on upwave.com discussing a rather strange question. The article presented on the CNN websites asks the question can sex be a workout or rather a form of exercise? Unlike some lascivious or comedic answers, this questioned is approached from a scientific perspective. Copulation was once thought to be a forbidden topic of discussion. Since the sexual revolution, there has been more of an academic interest in human sexuality and behavior.Sexology specifically is the study of human sexual interests, function, and particular behaviors surrounding the practice. This is a scientific discipline employing biomedical research, psychology, anatomy, and heath science. This article in particular examines sex from an exercise physiology perspective. Working out and training are essential to improving athletic performance.There is still more to learn about the function and behavior of the human body. A multitude of myths surround sex and exercise, mainly because the public is not informed or lacks general scientific literacy. The major problem is that conservative elements do not want to educate adolescents about human sexuality. Public schools in the US still give parents the option of not having their children take such courses in sex education based on religious grounds. There have been attempts to frame it as “family life education” to placate the social conservative elements. Sexual reproduction is part of the natural history of organisms.

          Seeing as sex is a physical activity it does have the ability to burn calories. A study done by The New England Journal of Medicine stated that on average sex lasted about six minutes and could burn at least 21 calories. This is an estimate. According to other sources thirty minutes of sex could burn as much as 100 calories. These calculations of calorie burning seem low compared to other forms of exercise. It has been estimated that the average person can burn up to 100 calories from in one mile of running. Running a longer distance would result in more calories burned. If the estimates of sex are correct, then it is not vastly different than running one mile. Weight training can burn an estimated 112 calories  done in a half and hour time span. Depending on a person’s weight and time on a treadmill it is possible to burn up to 355 calories. It appears that sexual intercourse would be an inefficient form of work out. If it were made to be efficient particular conditions would have to be met. First, sex would have to last longer than 30 minutes to burn more calories.

That means either sex would have to be done on multiple occasions to reach the level of calories of standard exercises. There also needs to be some understanding about the physiology of sex. Copulation follows a particular cycle, which has been studied by both sexologists and psychologists. There still remains much misinformation and falsehood about sexual activity, simply because people are not educated about the subject. Sexual reproduction  like other biological functions revolves around a certain physiological system.

       The sexual response cycle is a four stage process that involves sequences of arousal,plateau, orgasm, and ends with resolution. The sexual response cycle begins with an excitement phase in which blood vessels inducing swelling in the clitoris and cause the penis to become erect. Other functions happen in the pelvic region as well. Blood and other fluids congregate in the testicles and vagina. When arousal reaches its apex a number of events occur in the human body . Heartbeat increases as well as respiration. Blood pressure does increase during this process, but not to a dangerous level. Muscular tension also increases including glandular secretions. The following phase is the orgasm stage in which both men and women gain a sense of intense sexual pleasure. The genitals go through rhythmic contractions. The result of this will be men ejaculating semen. Women will experience clitoral and vaginal sensations. The sexual response cycle then ends with the resolution phase.

sexual_response_cycle

During resolution the body thus returns to a the state prior to excitement. The fluids dissipate, while blood pressure goes back to normal levels. The heart rate does back to a normal condition. The sexual response cycle was first observed in 1966 by William Masters and Virginia Johnson. These two scientists observed intercourse directly and described the physiological patterns of sexual activity. women and men have similar patterns of biological response in the process, yet there is a slight difference. Women respond more slowly and can maintain arousal for a longer period of time. Women have the ability to have multiple orgasms in a short period,while this rarely happens in men. The size of the genitals or other sex characteristics are generally not related to sexual performance.

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Understanding the sexual response cycle makes it easier to understand why sexercise would not actually be a work out. The suggestion of having sex before breakfast or using yoga exercise techniques does not seem to have much cogency as stated in the article.  If yoga can burn up to as much as 300 calories in a half and hour session, then that would be more effective. It seems the CNN report has some fact combined with unsubstantiated claims about copulation. Although misinformation is not acceptable when making a statement of fact, it is understandable why  this occurs with this subject. The topic of sexuality and intercourse still remains a mystery.  The question about how men and women  differ in terms of sexuality also has generated debate and controversy. It appears that men show more interest in sex on average. Research has shown that men are more likely to attend visual sexual stimuli and may prefer to have more sex than women. Women see sex more so in the context of a longtime committed relationship.  Before one goes off into gender or sex based stereotypes, it should be remembered sexual behavior can also be influenced by society and culture. Women are either stereotyped as passive receivers of male sexual advances and men as pursuers. The sexual revolution and women’s liberation movement  change certain attitudes. Liberal societies have more permissive convictions in regards to human sexuality. Understanding sex from a scientific and biological perspective and eliminate the fear and ignorance people have about the subject.

        While sex is not an efficient workout, certain exercises may improve the experience. It has been hypothesized that building a strong core may improve sexual experience. Simultaneously, improving the strength of the pelvic floor muscles may also contribute to improved intercourse.

weightliftingwoman

core

Studies have suggested that women can experience exercise induce orgasm. There have been cases in which this has been documented, but there is little information for their origin. One study suggests that women who exercise regularly have more active sex lives and reach orgasm faster. This would have have to be tested vigorously for actual confirmation. The scientific method must be applied to studies to verify facts. Alfred Kinsey who was one the first to do a major study of human sexuality was limited in a degree, because it was reliant on surveys. However, the data collected was acquired from 17,000 Americans in the 1940s and 1950s. The sample was large and varied enough to provide at least a general outline of human sexual behavior. The only way to verify this claim of fit women having an easier time reaching orgasm is to study this directly. The avoids problems of response bias in which people are not willing to give honest answers about personal questions, even when a survey is anonymous. The Masters and Johnson method of observing copulation in a laboratory gives a more precise picture.

If an experiment were to be conducted it would have to compare women who were fit compared to unfit women. Then through survey, the fit women could be asked how much do they exercise their core in their exercise routine. Then once the data is collected it can be compared. If fit women have more orgasms, then it must mean that exercise can improve sexual performance to an extent. The question remains how much is this psychological or physiological. It is possible that exercise induced orgasms may be a sort of conditioned reflex. Sex is more than a physical act it also  has a mental aspect. Sexual motivation has become a topic of interest for many psychologists. Sex is different from other biological drives such as thirst or hunger. It is not as if a person would die without it. It is not homeostatic due to the fact it does not return the body to a state of equilibrium. The reason psychology has taken an interest in sex  as to do with the influence on behavior. Psychology explores the nature of the mind and the functions of behavior. Sexual motivation can serve a large range of goals from social bonding, pleasure, and reproduction.  Sexual science still remains uncharted territory.

       Based on what is known about exercise and the burning of calories, sex cannot be counted as an effective workout. The only way possible for sexual intercourse to  burn mass amounts of calories is either to extend the act for a longer period of time or have more of it in particular intervals. It is clear that copulation does not continue non-stop, rather physically it works in a series of stages. Sexual arousal induces excitement, which follows plateau. Orgasm will be reached,then resolution over a period of time. The reason human beings have these desires and urges is related to millions of years of human evolution. Sexual reproduction allows certain species to survive. Through natural selection, particular genes and traits are passed on through offspring. Early hominids had mating practices which are unknown to modern anthropologists. Learning about human sexual behavior is just another exploration into the science of the body.

CNN: Can Sex Be A Workout ?

Hot Pics # 6

Hot Pics # 6

BBC Future : The Mystery of the Pelvic Floor

The Pelvic Floor

Through out medical history, the female body was given little attention. This was because most doctors were men and there was not a serious study of women’s health. BBC Future has composed as series of article collectively known as the Health Gap examining specific issues women face in medical care. There still is much to learn about the female pelvic floor. The reason is that millions of women world wide are thought to suffer from pelvic floor related conditions. The pelvic floor is essential supporting the bladder, uterus, vagina, and uterus. The pelvic floor is a network of muscles, ligaments, nerves, and connective tissues. Women can suffer from prolapse or incontinence. While men have a pelvic floor as well they do not have these conditions, because they do not give birth to children. Despite these conditions and differences in health there is little anatomical research on the pelvic floor. There is a misconception that there is nothing more to learn about anatomy. However, the human body is a complex organic structure. Women’s bodies may be more complicated than previously thought. More academic investigation is required to adequately address women’s health challenges.

            The reasons for lack of study are related to the pelvic floor’s complexity and sexism. The female pelvic floor is unique due to the fact it is a more integrated structure. The pelvic floor requires organs, muscles, and nerves to work together. The pelvic floor has the ability of voluntary control. The system has bones covering it making it difficult to access. There is also another challenge in which muscles and connective tissue are interconnected. Although pelvic health issues are normally not life threatening, they do have the ability to effect the quality of life. This is why gynecologists and obstetricians are focusing more on this area of the female body. Certain conditions may get little public or professional medical concern when they are not extremely lethal .

pelvic-floor

The problem also relates to the fact throughout medical history women were rarely studied. Mostly male doctors, physiologists, and anatomists did were not concerned about the differences of female anatomy. Some medical professionals of the past centuries considered it a variant of male anatomy.  It is obvious that men and women are different biologically, physiologically, and genetically. Knowing this, there are certain health conditions that would effect a particular sex differently. Women would not get prostate cancer, because they do not have this organ in their bodies. Men have on average lower rates of breast cancer. The diseases of the nervous system and circulatory system have similarity between the sexes, but there can be a sex based outcome in regards to survival rates. Understanding these differences can allow for better medical treatment for diseases or other conditions. On hindrance to full examination of pelvic health issues is related to embarrassment. The reproductive area still remains a taboo discussion and medical research topic. Women’s bodies are treated this way to an extent, only being described in sexual terms.

This may be a ludicrous excuse to some,but sometimes it is difficult discussing personal medical issues with a doctor or physician regarding a private area. Men find it difficult discussing health  issues related to the testes or penis. For women it is even harder due to societal pressure, extra embarrassment, and the unusual perspectives related to women’s bodies.  Funding also is another concern. There are very few advocates lobbying congress for funding of research programs. Combined with debates and challenges over healthcare in the United States it further complicates the situation.

         There has been more research conducted to address this specific women’s heath concern. The University of Michigan has used MRI scanning to detect injuries from childbirth. Doing this allows medical professionals to see injuries otherwise not detectable by mere human sight. The levator ani can be seen, which is vulnerable to possible muscle tear. Women who have this muscle torn may never know it has happened. Some estimates range from a possible 36% occurrence of injury or 15% occurrence. Protecting the levator ani is the key to stopping pelvic floor injuries. The challenge is trying to figure out who may be more at risk. Aging, obesity,and vaginal childbirth have be hypothesized to be possible causes. There is the suggestion that pelvic exercises such a kegel exercise my be a great preventative measure. Yet, this may be inconclusive due to the absence of data to support such a claim.

qxizqvedurcne5b52e39c898b5Pelvic floor weakness is in reality a torn muscle. By making treatment and prevention individualized it can help improve women’s health outcomes. Many have the false notion that birth injuries are a problem of the past. However, there is a possible risk the more children women have the greater strain on pelvic muscle.

        Pelvic floor disorders can also effect female athletes. Young women are at risk, although it is associated with women who are older. The statistics gathered show that 42% of the women in the UK have experienced urinary incontinence. The US according to data women have a quarter of  pelvic floor disorders. Women who are high performing athletes and devoted to fitness may get pelvic floor disorders. This can happen to women who are not athletes and are just engaging in intense exercise.

The pressure that is put on the belly may cause women to lose control. Accidental urination could happen to some female athletes. This is known as urinary incontinence in which if a woman lifts something heavy or  jumps urination happens. There is reliable treatment for such a problem. Pelvic muscle exercises, avoiding over consumption of fluids, biofeedback, and physical therapy are techniques used to treat urinary incontinence. Biofeedback requires the use of electronic sensors to detect which muscles in the pelvic floor need the most strengthening. These sensors help work the right muscles   and uses a pessary. This device is inserted into the vagina to provide support to the bladder. There is also another option called midurethral sling. Pelvic  organ prolapse requires more action. Extreme cases require surgical procedure. Surgeries are done to support the organs and getting them back into place. Exercises and therapies can also be done.

     There is still more to learn about the female body. Biomedical science of the past mainly focused on men and showed little concern about women. Anatomy of the 21st century is still exploring the structure of the human body to the greatest detail. Women’s bodies still remain a puzzle and there is a going interest to tailor medicine and health science to them. The pelvic floor is more complex than medical professionals previously thought. If young girls understood their anatomy , it would prevent pelvic floor conditions. This also requires consistent exercises for the pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic diaphragm consists of the coccygeus and the levator ani. The levator ani has two structure within it called the pubococcygeus and the illococcygeus. Women must learn to exercise these muscles. Learning about these muscles and using them according to Dr.Miller will improve health outcomes. With more knowledge, women can improve their health. Women being more active and participating in professional sports, it is essential that female anatomy be studied.

BBC Future : The Mystery of the Pelvic Floor

Forbes: Get A Grip!Global Study Shows Hand Grip Is A Simple and Powerful Predictor of Death (2015)

Hand grip and the prediction of cardiovascular disease

Data was gathered from 17 countries in 2015 in relation to hand grip strength and mortality. Specifically it was examining the risk of death by cardiovascular disease. The results were published in Prospective Urban-Rural Epidemiology. The sample size was a total 140,000. While it is known there are risk factors for disease or dramatic decline in health, there is not way to predict one’s death. Mortality has a number of factors and circumstances behind it. This experiment took four years in total. Subjects would use a dynamometer  to measure their grip strength. The Lancet  also revealed some information extracted from the hand grip studies. The study did not mention how many were men and women. This is important based on the fact the human sexes differ in physiology and health. For hand grip to be a predictor of mortality from cardiovascular disease it would have to withstand the scientific method. Hand grip strength most likely predicts physical fitness in regards to bone and muscular strength. It may not indicate what exact condition the cardiovascular system is in. Before accepting studies, they should be questioned and tested to see if they can be replicated.

         There has yet to be a means to predict death. So many factors could effect mortality. making such claims would be like reading tarot cards. Family history of health conditions, public health, environment, and genetics can effect health. Age, race, and sex also play roles. Mental state can also effect the condition of physical health. When people get older changes in the nervous system and circulatory system make the body vulnerable to certain diseases. A young person would not be at the risk for dementia compared to a person over the age of 65. Breast cancer can be more fatal to African American women due to sociological and biological factors. Women have a higher risk factor in terms of getting osteoporosis due to differences in bone density. Life style behaviors are also important. Poor diet and limited physical activity can contribute to a decline in health. Deleterious habits such as drinking and smoking  can ruin human health. The environment also influences our health. Pollution and dramatic climate change may result in an increase of respiratory diseases. Human anatomy, health, physiology, and biology may be too complex to use grip strength as an predictor of death from cardiovascular disease or other maladies. Diet and exercise levels would probably be a more accurate indicator. A diet that is high in fats and sugars could lead to circulatory system health issues. Combined with a sedentary lifestyle only increases the chances of heart disease or stroke. Being active and having a balanced diet can prevent many chronic illnesses.

The challenge is having the will power to make lifestyle changes. Resisting particular comforts such as fried food or sweets takes much self control. Then there is also an economic factor. Fruits and vegetables cost more compared to junk food or fast food eating establishments. Eating healthy would be more difficult for a poor or middle class family. Stress and the demands of the modern world put extra burden on a person’s health. The vast range of factors make it impossible to predict death. However, risk factors are a warning of possible health issues later in life.

         There is a problem with the study if it used mostly men. Women and men differ biologically and this obviously influences health. According to this study men should out live women simply based on the fact they have higher grip strength.  This would be incorrect. Women have longer life expectancy on average compared to men, even though they have weaker grip strength. This would mean that there would have to be some set standard in regards to grip strength in relation to the sexes to make such a model work. This could be done based around the weight or BMI of an individual.The data would then have to be divided based on sex. There arises another problem when using BMI and weight.

Hand-Grip-Strength-Norms-femal kg

Hand-Grip-Strength-Norms-in-Pounds 2

Samples of female grip strength in both pounds and kilograms. This uses both the left and right hands. These are sample charts taken from xbodynow.com giving examples of hand grip strength among various age groups. 

The body mass index is not a scientifically precise way of  knowing healthy body weight. One issue is that it does not distinguish muscle from fat in the human body. This would mean a muscular person could be given a higher BMI and be classified as overweight or obese. This would effect a person who is shorter in stature relative to classification.  Going off of just weight could cause more complications. This would require to get men and women of the same weight  then test their grip strength to find the average. The average force generation would be considered normal for that weight range. It would also have to be divided by age. Men and women who live longer will not retain the same amount of grip strength as they did in their youth.

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Hand-Grip-Strength-Norms-For-Adults male

The men’s grip strength values are higher. These charts do not tell much about health condition or fitness level which could have effected the results. 

The hand grip strength claim is contradicted by the fact that men are more likely to have heart attacks sooner. Women’s heart attacks can occur when they are older. The symptoms differ for women in terms of myocardical infraction. Men are at higher risk for heart disease compared to women, yet women are more likely to die from heart attack. If men had strong grip strength and got cardiovascular disease, then it should be realized that such a form of measure may not be reliable. It is possible that a person could be very weak, but have good cardiovascular health. If one wanted to be certain that cardiovascular mortality could be determined by grip strength it should look at the life expectancy of people with the weakest grip strength and the strongest grip strength.

The study would then have to be adjusted to age group and sex. Only then could there be a precise measure. The study seems to only be just a somewhat accurate measure of physical fitness capacity. It could be possible that a person could get cardiovascular disease even if their grip strength is high. Stress is now considered to be a possible health risk and too much an endanger health. The heart can be vulnerable to high stress situations. The problem with modern day society is that fast paced environments may not be the best place to maintain health.

        The results of the study from the Lancet also make the claim that hand grip can even be a better indicator than systolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure refers to pressure on the arteries when the heart goes through contraction. The normal range for systolic reading should be between 90 and 120. Diastolic readings can be from 60 to 80 to be considered normal. Diastolic blood pressure refers to the force exerted when the heart is beating. Blood pressure reading are normally expressed as milimeters of mercury. A normal reading would below  120/80 mm Hg and above 90/60 in an adult. It would be difficult to believe that hand grip strength would be more effective at predicting cardiovascular mortality than the measure of blood pressure.

Diastolic-and-Systolic-Blood-PressureThe circulatory system is a delicate network of arteries, blood vessels,  veins, and the heart. The heart itself is a muscle which pumps blood through the body. This is done for the purpose of giving cells oxygen and vital nutrients. The heart is a hard working muscle which pumps blood 60 to 80 times a minute. During exercise or extreme excitement the heart can beat at least 200 beats per minute. The circulatory system must maintain a consistent flow and transport of blood through the body. This is why hear disease or other cardiac related conditions are so serious. Blood nourishes tissues and if there is blockage hemorrhage this can be devastating to other organs. Measuring blood pressure rather than grip strength would make more sense from a medical perspective. The only way to fully understand this is to examine and compare both methods. Only then it could be seen which method is more precise.

            Avan Aihie Sayer and Thomas B L Kirkwood’s conclusions may be premature. What was published was that “after adjustment for other factors, every 5-kg decrease in grip strength was linked to a 16% increase in death overall, a 17% increase in both cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular mortality, a 7% increase in the risk of myocardial infarction, and a 9% increase in the risk of stroke. The findings were broadly consistent across different countries and economic levels.” There should be a comparison of data in which western and global south countries are examined. A disparity in healthcare systems could effect the results. Diets and food consumption should also be examined. A high fat and sugar based diet may result in diseases of the circulatory system. Hand grip may just be more of an indicator of  physical fitness capacity and specifically musculoskeletal strength. The sample size was large enough to indicate that there may be some connection.  Dr . Darryl Leong  also had doubts stating “further research is needed to establish whether efforts to improve muscle strength are likely to reduce an individual’s risk of death and cardiovascular disease.” Hand grip as suggested by the study may be a bio-marker of the aging process. This means that as people age physical activity becomes more pivotal to maintaining health and avoiding chronic disease. It is incorrect to say that hand grip strength would be a precise indicator of mortality. Blood pressure, diet, genetics, and the amount of physical activity are more reliable indicators compared to grip strength.

Forbes: Get A Grip!Global Study Shows Hand Grip Is A Simple and Powerful Predictor of Death (2015)