Discover Magazine : True or False – Sex Makes Muscles Weaker

Does Sex Weaken Muscles ?

There are many fitness myths and falsehoods about the human body. The one that is the most persistent is that sex weakens muscles. This misinformation continues to spread among coaches and athletes themselves. Discover Magazine  on its website produces a section called “Seriously Science” in which it answers random questions about the field. People have limited understanding about their bodies and even more when it comes to copulation. The origin of the concept of sex interfering with athletic performance goes back to ancient Greece and Rome. They believe that it created too much calm and ease before competition. The only way to verify this is to use the scientific method. An experiment was conducted with weight trained men. This experiment has some  flaws. Women could be good subjects and obviously intercourse is an activity that is not done alone. Seeing as women’s bodies are physiologically and anatomically different it could help verify certain claims. If women have less muscle mass in their bodies it could tell us more about how sexual intercourse effects physical strength. The measurements and methods were sound. The athletic men were expected to engage in sex 12 hours before engaging in isokenetic  dynamometry. The problem was that the men did self reporting of sexual activity. The conclusion may be correct, but it can only be confirmed by replication.

          To comprehend the methods of the experiment,  a general understanding of isokenetc dynamometry must be established. This term describes devices that resist applied forces. Simultaneously, it controls the speed of exercise that is determine prior to use. This technology has the ability to measure the performance of muscle groups. Isokenetic dynamometry can also measure torque, resistance, and fatigue. This has vast applications for physical therapy and rehabilitation. The measurements would be more precise than having subjects just doing their weight lifting routine afterwards.

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While a person doing bench presses or dumbbell curls could also measure strength, the intention is to get a precise measurement. Isokinetic muscle testing has applications beyond mere sports science. It has been used in rehabilitation of orthopaedic conditions. What such devices in the study were used for was documenting muscle force from during five sets of maximal unilateral knee extension. The knee fexion exercise was conducted at 30 degs/s after the men abstained or engaged in intercourse. The time frame was 12 hours. According to the study : ”  the order of this treatment was randomized across participants, and time of day was maintained across all sessions.” The isokinetic muscle testing measured strength and endurance of the subjects.

          There  is a question about the subjects selected. The study just says they were men who were just physically active and in their 20s. Using professional athletes would have made more sense to see if the dramatic change in fitness would have occurred. Then the type of athlete you use also would matter. Weightlifters or bodybuilders could be useful subjects in a study. Weightlifters more so, seeing as they train for physical strength. Powerlifters or crossfit athletes may also be suitable. Women would be good subjects. Seeing as their bodies are different, they have to work harder to attain physical strength. Even the most muscular woman has less muscle mass of a man of equal training. If sex did weaken muscles it would have a greater effect on women.

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The study also acknowledges another problem with self reporting. The men in the study may either embellish their sexual activity, so there is no way of knowing for certain if they met the requirements.Men have the habit about bragging about their amount of sexual intercourse. For women, they may be more modest when discussing this topic. The hope is that subjects would be honest with their answers seeing as it anonymous. Subjects names are never revealed in scientific studies for the sake of privacy. The only way to be sure about the data is not to be reliant on self reporting. However results were produced : ”  data showed no significant effect (P = .34 and P = .39) of sexual intercourse on peak or average KE or knee flexion torque. For example, after sexual intercourse, KE torque was similar in set 1 (198.9 ± 39.1 ft/lb vs 190.2 ± 28.7 ft/lb) and set 5 (163.2 ± 30.8 ft/lb vs 159.4 ± 35.2 ft/lb) compared to when men abstained from sexual intercourse.” The conclusion was that engaging in sex before exercise a night before will not effect physical strength.

       Although the experiment had some minor factors effecting results, its conclusion may be correct. Abstaining or having sexual intercourse will not impact athletic performance. As stated in the text : ” results demonstrate that sexual intercourse does not significantly impact lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before short-term, high-force activity is unnecessary.”Could there be a possible psychological impact? That answer is not clear. There have not been any sport psychology studies that have explored the topic in depth. Sex making muscles weaker is just another fitness myth. The self reporting method does have its limitation. People may either be too bashful or embellish their sexual activity. What is known to negatively effect performance is irregular training, poor diet, lack of sleep, and ineffective training techniques.

Discover Magazine : True or False – Sex Makes Muscles Weaker

Cathe Friedrich : Strong Versus Skinny and Why Strong Is Better

 

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Strong Versus Skinny

Weight loss has been directed at women as the sole means to maintain health. While it is important to manage weight, losing too much can be unhealthy. This could negatively effect musculoskeletal mass of the body. The methods of weight loss that some women have done range from reduced calorie restriction, excessive aerobic exercise, or use of weight loss supplements. Thankfully, more women are using healthier methods. Weight training and a diet that meets the body’s needs can both maintain health as well as improve physical fitness. Women gaining physical strength and muscle is a positive development for women’s health. Muscle can actually improve women’s health. There is a new maxim “strong is  the new skinny” but the goal should not be to replace one body image with another. Women’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes so there should not be one set standard. There are some women who may not like the idea of developed muscle on their body, but when they try weight training they want more. There are five essential benefits that come with developing strength.

        Functional strength is about being able to do daily tasks. Moving furniture, groceries, or shoveling snow are just a few examples. Some women say that is work for men to do. However, there may not always be a man to  help. You may live alone or there just are not big strong men around to solve your problems. Training for strength differs from training for aesthetics. Both use weights to meet different objectives. Strength training along with compound exercises can induce muscular hypertrophy. The body can then generate more physical force. Bodybuilding is about molding the muscle to look a certain way. Both activities can enhance bone and muscle mass. The major target area of exercises should be the core. This is an important center of physical strength generation.

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Mere weight loss has some negative consequences. Too little calories, limited nutrition, and aerobic exercise only weakens the body. A person who is too thin may struggle doing basic physical tasks. Becoming to obsessed with thinness could put a person at risk for anorexia. Strength training can be a healthy way to maintain body weight. Weight loss only does not enable the building of extra bone and muscle tissue.  This means a person will have less functional strength. The impact can be larger on women who have less natural strength to start off with. Maintaining physical strength is pivotal to health as we age. Having functional strength aids in muscle and bone health.

         Body weight can become a concern if it exceeds a certain level. Cathe Friedrich incorrectly uses the term “skinny fat” when no such thing exists. This is more of a colloquial term that people use to describe people who carry some body fat, while to fitting the definition of being overweight. There are multiple body types which in include ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs. Some people can be in between these categories. Obesity and being overweight are not the same medical terminology. An overweight person may be carry more weight then they should, but are not obese. Obesity can be defined as weight higher than what would be considered healthy for a person’s height. The risk of type diabetes becomes a concern with increasing weight. A thin person with high amounts of sugar in their diet can still get the disease. This can be managed and controlled with exercise. Strength training can benefit anyone, no matter what age or fitness level. The protection of the circulatory system also needs attention. Heart disease and stroke become health concerns the longer people live. Being active can prevent chronic illness related to the muscular, skeletal, and circulatory system.

          Thinness is not an indication of health. Being malnourished can pose a threat. The body needs food as fuel and exercise to maintain organ systems. Getting too thin may pose a greater burden on women’s bodies. When fat levels decline to such a limited amount estrogen is effected. This may result in osteoporosis or infertility. Thinner people could be at equal or the same risk for diseases that effect the obese. Poor eating habits, smoking, and drinking are practiced by large segments of the population. This is not a concern during youth, but as age progresses the effects of poor health decisions emerge.

You cannot determine someone’s health by just their body type. Only medical exams can determine health condition. However, thinness is equated with health due to a beauty standard. 

The issue here is that people equate a beauty standard of body image with health. The concept has eugenic roots and was based in physiognomy, yet never really disappeared. Beauty has nothing to do with health. That depends on a person’s perspective and the culture in which they are raised. The unfortunate aspect is that it has caused women much distress. The mental toll of attempting to reach an unrealistic body ideal can harm psychological well being. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Strength training does have a mental health benefit.

          Self-esteem is essential to a person’s sense of worth. When women do strength train their is also a mental change that occurs. Women report feeling more body confidence not just how their bodies look, but what they can do. This new sense of self and confidence does not only relate to a sports field. It spreads to other aspects of life. Too many girls and women are discouraged from being ambitious or confident. This restricts their potential and  opportunities in life. Learning discipline, consistency, and goal setting is connected with strength training principles. Feeling like a stronger person gives women a larger boost in confidence. A study from  McMaster University demonstrated that women were more satisfied with their bodies after a twelve week training regimen . They were very pleased that they became physically stronger than before.Women’s mental health can benefit from a strength training regimen.

       Women will live longer on average. This means they have a higher chance of either getting diseases related to age, if they do not monitor their health. If a person does not exercise, the body becomes frail. Sacropenia causes muscles to decrease in power and strength. When a person reaches the age of 30, muscle mass gradually declines. Around the age of 50 the process becomes more dramatic. Bone density is also effected increasing the likelihood of hip fracture. Falls and the fractures that follow can be life threatening. This effects women worse seeing as they have less muscle mass and bone density. Strength training can protect women’s bodies from sacropenia and osteoporosis. The elderly can still benefit from some exercise. A woman that is too thin could be at risk of losing functional strength.

        Making yourself thin is not the most health path to take. The intent is to have enough physical activity and calorie consumption to manage weight. Calorie restriction will only harm progress. Diet should be managed and consist of vegetables, proteins, as well as some fruit.  Thinner people may not have as many health problems as an overweight person, but they are at risk for chronic illness. Losing the ability to do simple tasks become a challenge for older people. While a thin body may be seen as ideal  for women, it is not healthy. Being naturally thin does not pose a health risk, but attempting to be underweight is. Building strength is insurance against disease later in life. Strength training can be done by anyone. It is never too late to start. Women can gain more from a strength training regimen. Improved health, weight management, and higher levels of confidence are what women can gain.

Cathe Friedrich : Strong Versus Skinny and Why Strong Is Better

Spot Me Girl : Six Scientific Reasons Why Women Should Lift Heavy

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Read the Original Article Here

Weight training can be good for women’s health. This has been confirmed in exercise science studies and Spot Me Girl produced an article stating the scientific reasons women should lift heavy. Reading the title anyone who has a basic understanding of science can see the problem. Some people believe by adding the term scientific, it makes a claim more credible or truthful. The fact is science is more of a long term investigation. The only people who use the phase “it’s scientific” have no understanding of the discipline. Part of the problem is that public education lacks good science curriculum. The general public has a limited understanding of it. When discussing the complexities of the human body people are even more uninformed. This partly explains why certain myths about fitness and biomedical science continue. Women’s bodies are subject to either lore, falsehoods, or some form of  medical pseudoscience. Women’s physical capabilities are either underestimated or considered biological anomalies. Women gaining strength and muscle mass is not a physiological  abnormality. It can be scientifically proven that lifting weights can be a benefit to women’s health. Strengthening bones and muscles prevents certain disease. Lifting heavy can be a form of weight management. However, certain claims can be debated. Science is about using a particular technique to understand particular phenomena.

            The scientific method is a means of uncovering facts or explaining the natural world . The process involves several steps. A hypothesis is a proposal for a possible explanation for  a question posed. The hypothesis relevant to discussion is lifting heavy can be good for women’s health. The hypothesis must meet conditions prior to an experiment. The hypothesis must be testable, compatible with other verified hypothesis, and  have simplicity. The misconception is that science seeks to be complicated, yet the desire is to give a basic explanation of the natural world. Having a quality hypothesis enable experimentation. The proposed experiment would have women to work out with weights for a period of time and document the changes in their body. Muscle mass gains would be measured. An experiment must meet a requirement for duplication. Otherwise, claims made by the hypothesis could be put into doubt. Experiments can be classified as controlled, natural, and field. Controlled experiment have an independent variable which is the effected or altered factor from testing. Weights in  our mock experiment would be the independent variable. The dependent variable is the factor that is measured. The level muscular hypertrophy women experience would be the dependent variable. The natural experiment put an emphasis on observation. Field experiments are done outside a laboratory.

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Weightlifting is an example of training for strength.
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Bodybuilding involves training for aesthetics.
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Exercise causes a response from the human body.

Observation has certain limitations. There are things that the human senses cannot detect. Subatomic particles , microscopic organisms, and particular waves of electromagnetic radiation escape human detection with technology.  Pure science was based mostly on observation, but  by the time of the Age of Reason the scientific method developed as a way of validating facts. Observation still is important to science,because it provides a description of the natural world. After data is collected, then a conclusion can be made. Possible limitations of the experiment should be considered and factors that effected the outcome. If the process can be reproduced, then it could be considered scientific fact rather than theory. Scientists do not seek complex explanations rather a comprehensible descriptions of the the natural world.

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The scientific method involves a hypothesis, experimentation, observation, and the collection of data. When that is done a conclusion can be made.
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The human body contains cells and organ systems. Looking at a person we would not be able to see every cell in their body.
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Building strength and muscle can have benefits.

The term “scientific” is thrown around so much that people do not understand its meaning. This also explains why people are more willing to accept false information. Using terms or claims that sound credible can make it simple to manipulate the credulous. There are many myths about women can exercise that people still believe. Spot Me Girl is not immune from these myths.

       The concept of toning the body is incorrect. There is no such thing as toned or bulky muscle. The only purpose these were serve is to describe aesthetics. Women can build muscle , but the amount depends on certain factors. Body type and skeletal structure can vary among women. The relation between the MTSN gene and myostatin regulation also plays a significant role in muscular hypertrophy. Spot Me Girl states ” contrary to popular belief , lifting weights do not make women bulky it firms and tightens muscles. ” The process of weightlifting will not make a woman “bulky” but is possible they can get muscular . Sex hormone function is not the only factor in muscular mass gain from a training regimen.  Weightlifting does not shock the muscles rather it only causes micro-trauma. When adequate rest and recovery is done, then muscle fibers grow stronger. Spot Me Girl claims ” lifting heavy weight will shock your muscles and make them look leaner.” A shock to the muscles would be more like a tear or severe injury.  Another claim seems rather general : “females do not have enough testosterone to build significant muscle mass.” It’s not the total amount of testosterone that aids in protein synthesis, rather the amount of free testosterone in the body. Regardless of sex, mesomorphic body types have a greater ability to add muscle. The muscular women on a bodybuilding stage are not as large as one would assume. However their muscular mass in large in relation to there body frame. The weight of the women competing is lower than that of an average man.

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Compared to their male counterparts, they are smaller in terms of total muscle mass. The male bodybuilders can reach a weight as high as 200 lbs and over. The largest women have reached weight of 175 lbs. Lesa Lewis when competing weighed 165 lbs. The average weight of an American male 196.9 lbs. The argument about women being too huge or manly is a ludicrous one when examining body weight. Lifting does not tighten loose muscle either. Toning does not exist, rather the term is used in a gender based context rather than a scientific one. Women can build muscle, but it depends on the fitness goal and method used.

           It is correct that women’s bodies are capable of gaining strength. Victorian Age medicine believed that the female body was naturally frail and that rigorous physical activity was harmful to women’s health. This was accepted for a longtime and discredited. Load bearing exercise can protect women’s musculoskeletal health. Women have lower bone density and muscle mass. Overtime, muscle and bone mass decrease with age. The health risk of getting osteoporosis or sacropenia increases with age. Lifting weights can be a good method of prevention. It may also be an effective form of body weight control.

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Physical activity is good for health. Being too sedentary could lead to chronic illness. So far the information gathered about women and weightlifting is that muscle mass gain can have health benefits. Building bone mass and strength in the earlier part of life may enable a person who reaches advanced age to have more independence. The increased likelihood of falls which may result in bone fractures can be a concern with the loss of balance. Spot Me Girl only briefly mentions the psychological benefit expressing ” getting stronger by pumping iron can help you in other aspects of life as well.” Women notice they feel more confident, which can be positive for mental health. Daily tasks such as moving objects, doing chores, or anything that requires some physical activity becomes easier. It also reduces women’s dependency on men to extent. Too many women ask men to move something heavy for them or do a task that is physical. Even something as basic as opening a jar women should be able to do in the new age of woman power that appears in public consciousness. It may be just that women do not want to do such physical tasks because they choose not to or chivalry still remains. The only way for true gender equality to be a reality is if women also really understand what it means by equal treatment. That means in this case women should be able to do their own heavy lifting. Strength training is important to women’s health, but medical literature is not sufficient. However, it is clear that load bearing exercise can protect women from chronic illness.

          The claim weight training can improve body structure as a scientific fact seems questionable. This seems to be more of a discussion of aesthetics. The statement itself assumes that a person has a “bad” body structure or a “good” body structure. The morphology of human beings is the same. A person has a head, neck, thorax, abdomen, arms, and legs. There is a variation in somatotype. Some can be ectomorphic, endomorphic, or mesomorphic in body structure. Having a different body structure is not a disadvantage as one might assume. It means approach will have to be altered. Endomorphs will have to be careful about their caloric intake, while adjusting the amount of exercise. Ectomorphs need more caloric with enough training as well as rest to gain more size. Anyone can see improvement in their physical fitness. The total  physical fitness capacity depends on genetics, diet, sex, somatotype, and the training regimen.

tumblr_p4fhsfPITQ1vjlsfvo1_1280.jpg 494fa3592492363denise and susanWhile morphology does not radical change from exercise, the shape of it can.  The human body can be made to look different through weight training. Aesthetics in terms of strength sports really does not have a scientific basis to it. The only argument for that would be symmetry. Symmetry is not only aesthetic to strength sports, but it describes a property amount objects of the known universe and also at the subatomic level. People like symmetry because it is pleasing to the eye. This stated fact is not really a truth rather an expression of  a perspective. Spot Me Girl is correct in relation to the concept of bodybuilding molding the human body like clay. The term body sculpting has also been used to describe this process. What body sculpting refers to is core building or “toning ” exercise with the use of bands or dumbells. This is not different really that much different from bodybuilding, only that it is a way to make using weights more appealing to women. The truth is there is no such thing as “women’s” or “men’s” exercises. If the basic morphology is similar both sexes are capable of various exercises. Sexual dimorphism  can effect athletic performance. Women with weight training can enhance their shape.

       Muscle does have the ability to burn fat. The reason men find it easier to lose weight is due to body composition and androgen production in their bodies. Women have a higher fat percentage due to estrogen. This does not mean losing weight and keeping it off is impossible. If women use weight training to build more muscle more calories can be burned. Metabolism is key to understanding how the body absorbs food. When women  consume food it may convert most of it into fat storage. For most people the consumption of high sugar and fat diets can cause weight gain. Combined with limited physical activity this could put a person at risk for obesity or diabetes. Adjusting diet and physical activity can prevent this.

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Daily physical activity can improve health.
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Muscle has the ability to burn fat.
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Muscles do not turn into fat when you stop training. They atrophy from not being exercised.

It should be known  that if one stops training muscles do not turn into fat. The only way this could happen is if diet was changed. Muscles atrophy from not being used. It can be debated whether or not high intensity interval training  is effective at burn fat or building muscle to the greatest degree. There are numerous exercise fads that appear and vanish,but their claims never have underwent scientific testing. Using a treadmill it has been determined may not be the best way to burn enough calories. It does have the benefit of enhancing endurance, yet will do little for the increase in physical strength. Weight training can go far beyond building strength; it can be an effective tool for weight management.

   The question of weightlifting and posture has been explored very little. Spot Me Girl makes the statement that lifting can improve posture. The challenge with science is that it always has to verify and debate. The article makes a expresses a view with little evidence or support. To understand this problem there needs to be an understanding of what posture is. Posture can be described as ” the position in which we hold our bodies standing, sitting, or lying down.” Without it and our muscles the human body would not be able to hold itself up. Good posture is pivotal to health more than some realize. Back pain and possible strain or fatigue of muscles can occur due to improper posture. Alternations in posture can occur from sitting in a wrong position.

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An example of good posture and poor posture.
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The effect of weightlifting on posture is not completely known.
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Few who train in strength sports demonstrate poor posture.

The age of tablets and cellphones may have compromised neck and back health. Too much sitting for long periods also caused major health concerns.There are methods other than weight training that can improve posture. Do not slouch, because this can cause problems for the lower back. When using a phone do not spend long hours with your neck in the same position. Basic steps could improve posture. Exercise would not hurt considering the stronger the body the better. There still needs to be evidence that weight training can indisputably improves posture.

         Exercise can be a method of stress reduction. Current data shows that during physical activity endorphins are released. Endorphins are a group of hormones secreted from the brain and nervous system.The text incorrectly refers to them as “happy cells.” Their function varies depending on the physiological tasks. They are produced in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.Endorphins also have the ability to reduce pain and elevate mood. Some have speculated that low endorphins may have a link to depression. Studies did show that people who engaged in regular exercise did experience mood elevation from the increase of endorphins.

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Neurotransmitters are how brain cells communicate. Endorphins can be classified as neurotransmitters.
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There are numerous physiological responses to exercise. The nervous system responses is another unexplored territory of sports science.
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The chemical messengers in our brains have the ability to change our emotional states .

The stress is unavoidable. However, it is a person’s responses to stress that seems to be more of a problem. Overreaction to life’s minor issues can eventually take there toll on both mental and physical health. With more awareness about mental illness and loneliness there are some changes that can be made to reduce personal turmoil. Staying away from negative relationships, taking control of life, and not using bad advice from others may reduce stress to a degree. Stress that is induced from environment can be insuperable. Racism, warfare, economic instability, or the decay of society create an abnormal amount of stress on the population. These events are beyond an individuals control. Coping is only a passive way of  not solving a problem. Some challenges in life may not have a solution. Finding an enjoyable activity can allow a person to whether the burden of life. Disconnecting from digital media is fine, but being a way from people may cause distress. Sometimes working out with another person can be encouraging. Exercising can improve mood and reduce stress. The degree and how much exercise specifically is up for debate.

    The general public lacks a basic understanding of science. This is why when the word “scientific” is used people will easily believe a claim, even though it may not be true. The studies that come out by press release are not definite facts; it is a continuing investigation to reach a scientific law. There is still more to learn about astronomy , physics, mathematics, biology, and the human body itself. Relevant to sports science and medicine  it can be said based on experiments and studies that weight training  can be beneficial to women’s health. Training is not a male only affair and women who do it are not masculine. Sadly, this idea still remains yet women are challenging this incorrect assumption. Weightlifting can build bone and muscle. The reduction of excess fat will prevent obesity,diabetes, and heart disease. There are indications that being physically active can also aid cognitive health. Certainly there are more than six reason why women should lift weights.

Spot Me Girl : Six Scientific Reasons Why Women Should Lift Heavy

BBC : Give Your Bones A Workout The Public, Told

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Give Your Bones A Workout

It is common knowledge that people are not getting enough exercise. Even though a person does not have a weight related health problem,lack of physical activity can impact health. The problem is that few people of a basic knowledge of health science or exercise. Public Health England wants to make recommendations and guidelines for the public to follow to maintain optimum health. There report from 2018 made exercise suggestions to the public. Exercise may help people as they age prevent chronic disease or particular health conditions.  Public Health England is a executive agency, which falls under the Department of Health and Social Care. It was established in 2013 to address concerns and the status of public health in the United Kingdom. On its website it states ” we exist to protect the nation’s health, well being, and reduce health inequalities.” This agency is classified as executive. The PHE is responsible for making the public healthier and improving lifestyles by collaborating with local government as well as the National Health Service. The PHE must also protect the public against health hazards and public health emergencies. PHE provides social care service programs which include screenings and immunizations for the public.   The goal is to share information about health as well as conduct research. Using the data collected the PHE wants to provide solutions to public health problems. Public Health England employs 55,000 workers who are scientists, researchers, and public health professionals.  The general public understands the benefit of aerobic activity, but it has yet to realize the potential of resistance training. Public Health England provides some useful information, yet more research might be required to reach a conclusion.

       There is the question which physical activity or exercise is the best to manage health and aging. Tai Chi and yoga can be beneficial. The PHE states ball games, racket sports, dance, and Nordic walking can help a person stay fit. Cycling can also be a good form of exercise. Dance could technically not be considered an exercise, rather a performing art. It still can burn calories,because the body is in a state of motion. Even simple walks can be good exercise. However, these sets of physical activity and exercise most be better at building bone and muscle strength. Although it has not been scientifically tested one of these form of exercise should be better for building musculoskeletal mass. Yoga and Tai Chi may be better form overall balance and flexibility. Nordic walking could probably build better endurance in comparison. Tennis and volleyball can utilize a combination of endurance and strength.

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Dance
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Resistance training
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Tai Chi

If the goal is to combat osteoporosis or sarcopenia  resistance training would be the best solution. This does not mean functional fitness should be abandoned. According to the BBC ; ” only one in three men and one in four women is doing enough of the right types of exercise to keep both healthy and strong, say the experts.” There is considerable debate about what is the right type of exercise or how much should be done on a daily basis. Someone doing exercise for a few minutes may not see the same results as someone doing it for a couple of hours. What must also be addressed is the gender disparity when it comes to physical activity. The statistic given by the BBC shows 33.3% of men compared to 25% are doing the right exercise for their bodies. Women’s lower number suggests some gender bias and traditional cultural attitudes that could negatively impact women’s health. Exercise or anything that involves physical prowess has been thought to be only appropriate for males. The majority of women’s health and fitness magazines promote weight loss rather than serious training or exercise advice. Thankfully, this has changed, but there are some women who still have an aversion to exercise. This can put women’s health at risk. Exercise and physical activity should be part of everyone’s daily routine.

           Age can cause a change in health condition . The consequences of living a long life is that there can be physical decline of multiple organ systems. The bones and muscles reduce in amount. The brain and nervous system can fall victim to cognitive decline or forms of dementia. The circulatory system can be effected by weight gain as a result in changes in metabolism. This is why experts suggest that the young build up their bone and muscle mass as much as they can. The peak of bone and muscle mass in the body is around age 30. From that age onward there is a gradual reduction. Older people can still get active and maintain the amount they already have. Weight training has shown to manage the natural loss of bone and muscle that comes with aging.

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A person has more bone and muscle mass in youth
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Seniors can benefit from a weight training program.
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Women can benefit from muscular development.
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Muscle has the ability to burn fat and manage weight.

BBC offers some caution: ” those who are frail and/or at risk of fractures, including people with osteoporosis, should be especially careful, however, particularly with higher-impact activities such as tennis, and seek advice from their doctor.” Certain exercises or activities may not be suitable on the recommended list. Seeing as women will live longer exercise and  working out become even more important. The average life expectancy could increase if certain environmental factors change. Age should not be seen as something negative or a curse. Taking care of yourself and doing the proper steps to maintain health can improve the quality of life.

         The question of the proper amount of exercise has been subject to debate. There are multiple perspectives regarding total amount. One position is that there has to be a specific amount of time for exercise to allow for health benefits.  The other perspective is that any amount can be useful. Then there is another perspective that amount should not be counted at all rather a classification of types of exercise divided by intensity. The Public Health England states “at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, every week and Strength exercises on two or more days a week that will work all the major muscles.” Two hours and thirty minutes could be either enough or too little for some people. Depending on a person’s health condition and fitness level this may have to be adjusted. There is no reason why strength training could not be done more than two times a week. Working every muscle group may require five days. If weight management is the goal, then it may be advised to have a longer exercise session. The amount and type of exercise a person does depends on specific objectives.

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Training for health maintenance 
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Training for aesthetics  
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Training for strength or functional fitness 

People can train for functional fitness, heath maintenance, or aesthetics. These require a different training approach, diet, and exercise planning regimen. Consistency in both diet and exercise is essential to success.  Recommendations can change for maintaining good health, but so far what can be said with certainty is that exercise is good for you. The difference now is that there is scientific confirmation. Dr. Zoe Williams articulates : ” being active isn’t just about getting your heart pumping – although this is a good way to begin. ” Simply by walking or standing up, a person is burning calories. It may not be burning as much as lifting weights or being on a treadmill, but it still contributes. Dr. Williams is correct when saying ” strength and balance activities work in conjunction with cardio activities like brisk walking, and come with a range of health benefits throughout your life – it’s never too late to start.” However, it is important to have the precise amount to ensure health benefits and so far biomedical science has not provide the answer.  The PHE recommendations should only be seen as accurate, not precise amounts of required exercise for heath maintenance.

          It should also be understood why bones are so important to health. The public understands the circulatory system better, but osteology is a mystery.  The human skeleton is a framework in which all organs can be housed along with muscle and visceral fat. There are a total of 206 bones in the body with half being in the hands and feet. The skeleton anchors the muscles along with the contributions of tendons and ligaments. Organs have a protective cage along with skin. The bone contains periosteum , bone marrow , spongy and compact bone. The skeletal system can be classified into two sections. The axial skeleton consists of the cranium, rib cage, and vertebral column. The appendicular  skeleton contains the upper limbs, the pelvis, pectoral girdles, and lower limbs.

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The basic anatomy of the human skeleton 
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While it is easier to see muscles on a body, the human skeleton is covered by tissue and skin. 
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Bones cells are different from other types of cells in the human body. 
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Lifting does not only build muscle it can build bone. 

Bone is made of  three types of cells. The osteocyte has the responsibility of maintaining the bone matrix in the skeletal system. It can best be though of as stitches keeping clothing seams  joining two or more layers of fabric. The osteogenic cell enables cell division resulting in the production of osteoblasts. Osteoblasts will secrete osteoid, which contributes to the bone matrix. The osteoblasts are not fully developed bone cells. Osteoclasts play a role in secreting both acids and enzymes that dissolve into the bone matrix. Although many think of bone as being static and unchanging, the skeletal system goes though various alterations during the human life span. The skeletal system should not be confused with the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskletal  system consists of the muscles, bones, ligaments, cartilage,   and tendons  of the human body. The skeletal system solely  refers to bones. Like any other organ system it can be vulnerable to disease. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are common bone related diseases. Leukemia can originate in bone marrow or the lymphatic system. While having a healthy diet can prevent many aliments, exercise should also be part of a person’s daily routine. The amount of exercise can be debated. There is no question that physical activity could be an effective medicine against chronic illness.

BBC : Give Your Bones A Workout The Public, Told

Shape Magazine : More Women Are Trying To Gain Weight Through Diet and Exercise

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Women Gain Muscle

Shape Magazine is one of the most popular fitness printed media for women. Started in 1981 by Weider Publications, Shape was the product of Christine MacIntyre. She was considered a pioneer in women’s free weight fitness. During this time, Weider Publications mainly focused on bodybuilding publications and did not target women as buyers as much as men. The times were changing. Women were getting more involved in sports and fitness. Women were also during the 1980s new comers to the bodybuilding and physique sports. Many women’s magazines that discussed exercise or fitness only did it in the context of weight loss, not serious training. Christine MacIntyre wanted to get more women into fitness and exercise by producing a magazine with a journalistic and academic based writing style. Joe Weider was more interested in present a magazine that had models rather than presented one for women who were interested in fitness. While this was happening women were getting more active in sports. Then an fascinating phenomenon happened.  Women involved in fitness were enjoying the idea they were building muscle and strength. Currently in the 21st century it has gained more popularity. Shape has become digital based rather than print and in 2015 was bought by Meredith Corp. Since then, there are plans it have it merge with another magazine known as Fitness. No one seems to take note, but the muscular woman has become more visible. Julia Malacof asks “gaining muscle is more popular than ever, but is it a good thing for your body image?” Considering the magazine could be distorting their readers body image this seems ironic. People may think this a recent development, but women have been involved with weights and building muscle before the 21st century. There can be positive and negative developments with change, however the benefits more than some assume.

           Female bodybuilding and weight  can be considered the mother of women’s fitness. The strong women that performed in the circus or vaudeville gave way to women lifting weights recreational purposes. Later professional competitions would emerge and by the late 1970s professional female bodybuilding. Women faced both opposition from within the sport and the general public. Sexist prejudice, body image conformity, and rigid ideas about gender roles were constant obstacles. Women were limited in their educational and economic opportunities. The first and second wave feminist movement eliminated some of these hindrances and women began to enter other areas thought to be male only. Sports, exercise, and fitness women gradually became participants in. This was not just a phenomenon in the United States, women athletes were appearing at high levels of competition in the Olympics from various nations.  There still are struggles for women in particular parts to compete, but as time goes by this will change. Nations realize the more athletes they sent to the games, the higher the chances of bringing medals home.

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A Strong woman from the 19th century poses with weights.
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female bodybuilders are focused on sculpting the body to a certain aesthetic.
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Muscle and strength is no longer male only.
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Women are serious competitors at the Olympics.

Besides that massive social and political change, there is another change that few take note of. There are probably more muscular and strong women in existence than in any point in human history. Muscular women did exist prior to sports and fitness, but women that are seen today are a new paradigm. The physically strong woman can generate feels of lust, fear, or repudiation depending on a person’s perspective. Women are no longer caring what people think their bodies should look like or do. The average woman seems to be embracing the idea of muscle or a the minimum some fitness. The notion of being “too muscular” has no place in their thought. The sudden shift was from a new consciousness. The internet and social media may have played a role.

    Shape asked Ruben Belliard, founder of The Training Lab  and  Brandon Marcello, Ph.D., a sports-performance strategist about women’s interest in strength training. Belliard attributes social media to the increase with #like a girl and #strong is the new skinny. Seeing athletes like Serena Williams or Ronda Rousey on social media or television have presented a new image of female beauty.Ruben Belliard notes that is more about athletic performance rather than looking a certain way. It is not about looking strong women want to be physically stronger. Lifting weights can be both fun and empowering for women on multiple levels.

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Crossfit has seen a number of women rise to prominence.
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Women do not have to be professional athletes to get involved. Average women are starting to get interested in lifting.
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The bodybuilding categories for women have drastically expanded. There is fitness, bikini, open class bodybuilding, figure, and physique.
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Women’s weightlifting has been a part of the Olympics since 2000.

Brandon Marcello, states “while there is still some aversion to gaining muscle, I believe those who are averse are more of an exception rather than the rule.” There is a slight error in another part of his statement : ” Sure, the scale goes up (muscle weighs significantly more than fat), but people in general are more educated on body composition.” Muscle does not weigh more than fat. If one were to weigh a pound of muscle and a pound of fat they would be equal. The reason weight increases is due to the accumulation of muscle mass. Muscle mass acquired through exercise and diet is healthy weight gain. The dramatic increase in excessive body fat can be hazardous to health. The use of scales is misleading. The proper measure should be the ratio of fat to muscle mass in the human body. It is surprising that a fitness magazine made such an egregious error. Although female bodybuilders are commonly called bulky as a pejorative, their weight proves that muscle does not weigh more than fat. The weight of  a female bodybuilder is less than that of the average man. The average weight for an  American man is 197.9 lbs. Bodybuilders Isabelle Turell, Margie Martin, Rene Cambell , and Dayana Cadeau weigh less than that. The average woman in America weighs 170 lbs. Isabelle only has six extra pounds more on her body compared to the average American woman. These average body weight statistics need to take into account height. Americans have grown taller compared to past generations.

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Isabelle Turell 176 lbs
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Rene Cambell 170 lbs
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Margie Martin 150 lbs
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Dayana Cadeau  130 lbs

The idea of bulky woman really does not exist when looking at the idea in the context of weight and mass. These women have gained weight relative to their body size. Athletes and weightlifting enthusiasts either establish websites, forums, or social media accounts to exchange fitness information and nutrition advice.  Simply having more images of physically powerful women generates interest and curiosity. People are highly susceptible to what they watch or see in media. There have been noticeable consequences of this change. Shape describes the positive and negative results.

         The arguments regarding the negative aspects of  the fitness trend are related to body image. The fear is that one body image ideal is being replaced with another. The ultra thin body has given way to an athletic looking one. The change has not entirely occurred as some have warned. Treating the human body as a fashion trend does cause social problems. Unhealthy obsession with appearance can result in body dysmorphia. However, some studies suggest that images of muscular women do not have the same effect, like thin ones. The 2015 study form Body Image  demonstrated that women did not feel worse about themselves when looking at stronger women. This may also mean that women who are fit are gaining more acceptance. Fitness professionals have mixed feelings, yet it is more ironic it is coming from other women. Victoria Jarzabkowski Lindsay, R.D., a Washington, DC–based dietitian stated ” I do worry that we are simply switching one ideal for another. ” Rarely is men’s pursuit of  fitness and strength questioned. She then expounds further : “I think that disordered eating, excessive exercise, and drug use-all the risky behaviors associated with trying to stay thin-exist within the group of women wanting to achieve more muscle gains as well. ” It could be true that some women into fitness could be at risk for orthorexia. This condition is psychological and relates to an obsession of eating healthy to extremes. Psychological disorders arise from either environmental or biological factors. This may not have anything to do with fitness itself. Drug use is common in sports, but women statistically do not make up the majority of users. If a person has self-esteem and body image issues, they should be careful in their pursuit of fitness. Realistic goals, positive mind set, and doing fitness for fun should prevent such risks. Looking at the cover of  Shape one body type  is presented, which seems to either be slim or somewhat toned.

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The woman seen on Shape magazine is slim. They rarely feature larger women. Some wonder if a single image of women’s bodies could be effecting women’s mental health. 
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Professional Olympic female  athletes do not get the same amount of coverage in print media as their male counterparts. 
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Muscular women may not get mainstream exposure, but on the internet there is limited interference from corporate gatekeepers. Women can establish their own websites and social media. 
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Women are competing in strength sports all around the world. This is a Nepalese female weightlifter  in competition.  

The majority of the articles focus on basic weight loss rather than actual sports and fitness. There has been some change with guides to basic exercises. Women are now serious competitors in sport both locally and internationally, yet there still is some trepidation about women developing their physical skills. There are risks of injury, the female athlete triad, or ACL tears. These negative consequences can be avoided through correct training. The reality is that women tend to feel better about themselves, when they achieve a certain level of physicality. It can in a way deprogram women from feeling shame or insecurity about their bodies and appearance. Compared to the positive benefits, the negative consequences are not much of a concern.

       Gaining muscle and strength can improve health. This is critical for women who will on average live longer. The use of weightlifing to improve athletic performance has multiple benefits. Adding muscle can give women an extra boost in terms of strength. The concern about getting too big or putting on too much weight should be ignored. The body mass index and weighing the body on a scale may not be the best way to measure health.   Shayla Roberts, C.S.C.S., a peak performance coach described it best : “women are realizing that body composition-what you are made of-is more important than the number on the scale.” So when a woman lifts and gains weight, it is merely more muscle mass. Some would argue that simple weight loss is enough. The problem with this is that too much weight loss could be harmful to the musculoskeletal system. As a person ages bone and muscle mass decline. Simultaneously, metabolism can change with age meaning an increase in weight. Muscle has the ability to burn fat, which means lifting can be an effective weight management tool. Bone density can be increased, which can prevent osteoporosis later in life. It has been suggested that lifting can also prevent heart disease, inflammation, and lower the chances of getting type 2 diabetes. Posture can be improved and it may aid in better sleep. Health science has gradually been studying the importance of sleep on brain and circulatory system health. Less sleep could put a person at risk for possible cognitive impairment or heart conditions. Mental health is just as essential as physical health. Women can improve there self-esteem and gain a new sense of confidence that is often not encouraged in society.

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Women say this new found confidence spreads to other parts of life. There may be also the possibility that exercise can increase the level of endorphins improving mood. A major change in lifestyle is that more people are sedentary. Combined with high sugar and fat diets this causes the risk of higher obesity rates.  The only way to counter this concern in public health is to get people active. Women are the least likely to exercise, due to the gender stereotypes and sexism present in the sports and fitness culture. Overtime, this will not be the case. Although women receive negative criticism, they continue to participate in sports that they love. The average person does not have to train like a professional athlete to see multiple benefits in relation to health. Exercise can be a great from of prevention against chronic illness.

          There has been an unnoticed movement of women in sports and fitness. Women want to not just look strong, but enhance their physiques through training. Reddit’s xxfitness  and images on Instagram feature women who have significant muscular gain.  What started with the strong woman performances in the 19th century gave way to weightlifting and female bodybuilding in the 20th century. It seems that the muscular woman has greater prevalence and visibility than ever before. There are detractors, with arguments similar to the ones that were expressed in the past.  The shift is that there are people who are more accepting of women who want to develop their bodies physically. The question remains is such a movement good for body image? Certainly there are negative repercussions if it is extreme or too obsessive. Overall, it can be more positive to body image, because it can improve self-esteem and physical health. Women do not get concerned about how their bodies look; it is about what they can do. Some people like that they can mold,change, and have mastery of their body. Muscle gain and weightlifting have a beneficial effect on women’s health and well being.

Shape Magazine : More Women Are Trying To Gain Weight Through Diet and Exercise

Fit Day :How Women’s Fitness Differs From Men’s Fitness and How Strength Training For Women Differs From Men

 

Women’s Fitness and Strength Training

Fit Day is a website that provides general information about fitness and health. Seeing as it is for novices the information will not be so complicated. Their writers have experience and credentials. Andrew Peloquin is a fitness trainer with NFPT certification as well as martial artist. Erin Coleman is a dietitian and health educator. They provide an introduction into men and women’s sports performance and fitness. The general public has a limited understanding of  health science and physiology, which is why they may have a difficult time getting started on a training program. While these two experts  are knowledgeable in their fields, it should be noted even  they can be prone to error. There are multiple debates about women’s physical fitness and bodies. For too long women’s bodies were considered the biological inferior or not designed for physical activity. Obviously, the sexes are physically different in relation to primary and secondary sex characteristics. Sexual dimorphism makes men and women different in terms of size. body composition, and physical  fitness. Biological sex is not a limitation, rather training should be adjusted to fit these physiological and biological differences. The intersections of biology, physiology, and exercise science leave an observer with two questions. Does fitness between men and women differ ? Do these differences have an impact on strength training? Peloquin and Coleman provide answers, however some can be debated.

        To answer these question a general definition of physical fitness must be provided. Physical fitness can be defined simply as the ability to perform physical activity. The aspects of it can be either skill, health, or physiologically based. This requires exercise. The result of a training program will see the body respond to such stimuli. The components  of physical fitness include cardio vascular endurance, flexibility, physical strength , and muscular endurance.  Fitness can be measured . This would be referred to as physical fitness capacity. This describes how fast, strong, or  the total endurance a person has.  This is where Peloquin makes a minor error : “women can be just as fit as men, but that level of “fitness” will never quite be the same.” That statement is not using the correct terminology or science. Women can attain fitness and have their bodies changed through training, but the physical fitness capacity differs. This is not women having different fitness, rather about measurement and performance.  When discussing measurement it can either be accurate or precise. The goal is to be as precise as possible when doing an experiment. Take for example measuring physical strength. Hand grip measurement may be accurate, but not as precise as weightlifting records.

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Physical Strength
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Speed
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Flexibility
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Muscular endurance
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Cardio vascular endurance

arm wrestling would not be too useful, because that can be distorted by technique and using body mass against an opponent. Knowing this, Andrew Peloquin’s assessment and explanation is off when discussing the general idea of fitness. Fitness capacity can vary among individuals depending on diet, training, health condition,  genetics, somatotype, sex hormones, and the years spent doing an exercise regimen.  Sex is a factor, but not the only one. This further complicates beginning an  training program, because everyone has their own unique physiology.  Prior to training  the fitness level among a person could fall in various ranges. Men have the advantage of more muscle mass and natural strength. Women depending on their body type have to work harder to attain a certain physical fitness capacity.

        Andrew Peloquin mentions the body mass index. The BMI is used to determine the healthy weight for a person based on their height. The problem with this measurement is that it can classify people as obese when they are not overweight. A muscular person could easily fall into the overweight or obese classification. Men and women of significant size in terms of musculature are not at risk for weight issues. Muscle burns fat so their health is not at risk. The BMI is not a useful measuring body fat’s risk to health.  New proposals of a replacement methods of using waist size as a measure have been proposed. The BMI is adjusted  to account for women’s body composition, but this still does not provide a precise measurement or level of excessive weight. Using weightlifters or bodybuilders  in the calculations poses errors in the charts. Seeing as off season weight differs from contest weight it would mean according to BMI women are going to an unhealthy weight range.  Doing the calculations demonstrates the BMI chart or its measurement is not as precise as desired. Using Lesa Lewis, Betty Pariso, and Iris Kyle ‘s total off season weight  reveals the equation may not be useful.  Looking at the images of the women both in contest and during their off season, it should be clear they do not have a weight management health issue. Betty Pariso when she competed was 226 lbs (103 kg)  during her off season. The metric version of the equation is dividing the amount of kilograms and in relation to to the squared value in meters. This gives Betty a BMI of 36.5. Even with out using the metric equation, Betty Pariso would fall into the obese range.

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The BMI does not take into account different somatotypes.
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Lesa Lewis – off season weight of 215 lbs (98 kg)
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Betty Pariso – Off season weight 226 lbs (103 kg)
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Iris Kyle off season weight of 180 lbs (82 kg ) .

Using the same equation also produces a technical inaccuracy.  Lesa Lewis is taller than both Iris Kyle and Betty Parsio, but her BMI would be 31.0 in relation to the metric calculation of BMI. Lesa when she competed had an off season weight of 98 kg.    Theoretically, the chart may even classify incorrectly thinner individuals as being underweight.  The body mass index does not take into account different somatotypes. Iris Kyle a bodybuilding champion would be in the overweight range with a BMI of 28.3, when following the chart. The women used in these calculations are not out of shape or struggle with weight  management. Seeing as they are female, they are just carrying more fat, but they are physically active enough to prevent unhealthy weight gain.  One major difference in how fitness is presented to women is that the focus is on weight loss. There has been limited emphasis on improving overall physical fitness or health. Women make the mistake of either going on diets or doing one type of exercise to reduce weight. It does not help that BMI is used as guideline, which can be misleading. There are other methods that are simple that could ensure determining healthy weight.

        Body composition has an influence on fitness between the sexes. Men have the ability to lose weight much easier compared to women. There is also a correlation with metabolism. Women’s basal metabolic rate is lower. Seeing as women have less muscle to start off with, building it will take a longer time. The approach for women is to focus on muscle mass gain and building bone density. Being overweight can pose health risks, but being underweight also poses a danger. Age can cause muscle and bone mass decline. If a woman is not active enough this means osteoporosis or sarcopenia could effect her worse compared to a man. Obesity could effect women worse due to the difference in body composition. An obese woman would have more difficulty getting back to a normal weight seeing as no matter what somatotype, women have a higher fat percentage. The reason is due to reproductive function of women’s bodies. Nutrition and diet are critical combined with the correct amount of exercise. Weight can also be altered by a change in sleeping patterns. Rest is as important as training itself to aid in recovery from strenuous work  on the body. It should be noted that carrying a few extra pounds may not harm a person. The health issues occur when their is a negative impact on the circulatory and skeletal system. Heart disease and joint concerns can become serious risks to health if a person reaches a high level of body fat mass. Being active can prevent such conditions or diseases. When women gain muscle mass they may go to the scale and realized they gained weight. This should not be a grave concern. It is the body adding muscle mass. The scale may be telling a person about weight, but not precise body composition.

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Lifting weights can increase bone and muscle mass .

 

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Scales only tell weight, not specific body fat composition .
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Muscle does not weigh more than fat.
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Muscle helps in the burning of fat.

A woman with significant muscle mass could have high weight, but it is not harmful to her health. What should also be noted is that weight is not  the same as mass. Weight refers to the amount of gravitation that pulls down on an object. Mass is the amount of matter in an object. So when someone is reducing the amount of pounds or kilograms it is the elimination of fat mass. Women should not equate thinness with health. having little weight could be doing harm to the muscular and skeletal system. What should be the concern for healthy weight is fat to muscle mass ratio.

            Women may have an physical advantage in flexibility. There could be one disadvantage of having possible injuries.  Shoulder and knee injuries are something that women in sports must be conscious of. High amounts of flexibility can be useful in sports like gymnastics. There are other factors that determine flexibility such as genetics, age, and exercise habits. Yoga for example can improve flexibility. It is a myth that large muscles means less flexibility. The only way to attain it is to train for such a physical fitness indicator. The reason women may be more flexible could be due to childbirth. The pelvic region requires it when the baby develops. Organs must shift in order to support the developing child. This enables women to still be able to walk without toppling over. Peloquin is incorrect by saying ” women are naturally more flexible than men, as their bones are shorter and have less pronounced corners. ” Depending on a woman’s height her bones could be longer. Compared to a shorter man, her bones would be larger. The skeletal structure between men and women does differ. Women have lower bone mass, a wider pelvis, and narrow shoulders. The female body be more rounded would be more so related to body composition than it is to bone mass. Connective tissue and ligaments also relate to flexibility. Andrew Peloquin makes a minor error discussing his statements on flexibility. There still is more to learn about what is the best and efficient exercises for the increase in flexibility.

           Muscular strength is another element of physical fitness in which men and women differ. When measuring pure brute strength men surpass women. The explain nation is related to body size, body composition, and the function of the endocrine system. Once more Andrew Peloquin uses an inaccurate measure to describe the strength difference between the sexes : “if you measured the body mass index of the average man against an average woman of the same weight, the man will usually have a lower body mass index (indicating greater muscle mass).”  The men would not have a a lower BMI if the weight were the same. A man and woman of 68 kg would have a body mass index of 23.5, ,meaning many BMI charts do not account for morphological differences in the body between the sexes. Prior to puberty there is very little difference in muscular strength between boys and girls. Testosterone enables a higher rate of protein synthesis. Women produce more estrogen compared to testosterone, which means they do not experience a strength spurt.  Girls  can reach their adult height by age 15, while boys could continue to grow possibly until they are 20. Height is determined mostly by diet and genetics. Males have more natural strength, however women can gain strength through weight training.

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Children are still growing from birth  to adolescence.
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There are women who train for years that can surpass average men in terms of strength.
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Very few women could reach the same level of physical strength as a man on the same training regimen.
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The change in body size become significant around the age of 13. At this stage in development boys are gaining more strength.

Sex hormones are not the only factors in muscular strength. The function of the nervous system contributes to physical strength. The motor neurons that are in the body help it generate force during physical activity. The nervous system is responsible for both voluntary and involuntary movement. The size and durability of tendons, ligaments, and bones also are a factor in strength. Muscle fiber type specifically type two muscle fibers have more explosive power. Andrew Peloquin articulates this difference ”  men can build muscle more easily, which will in turn help them to lose weight and get in shape. Men depending on their somatotype and health condition may not build muscle to the same degree as a bodybuilder or weightlifter. Women will struggle to reach a particular fitness level, yet it must be realized everyone responds to training differently. The difference with women is that either there is little reliable information of approach in regards to sports science. The majority of studies focus on men and it has only been recently that their has been serious academic investigation.  What is known is that women can build muscle, but not experience muscular hypertrophy to the same degree as a man on the same fitness program. Peloquin is correct to say women can get in shape. It can be argued that peak physical fitness differs from just being in shape. Being in shape can be done with basic exercise for health maintenance. A casual gym goer is exercising for the sake of keep their body in stable health condition. Peak physical fitness is intended to train the body to its highest degree and improve performance. It is clear that many female athletes have reached a high level of peak physical fitness. This is where Andrew Peloquin’s thought becomes questionable : “…. they need to find a workout program that plays to their strengths, and they shouldn’t try to compete with their fellow man. ” Women entering sports or fitness are not trying to dethrone men. It appears that image of the strong woman or physically skilled  woman generates negative reactions. It may be difficult for a fit woman to compete with the strongest men, but most surpass the average man or ones that are out of shape.

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The physical fitness capacity is large between a man and woman on the same training regimen.
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All men are not stronger than all women.
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Women compete in numerous sports

The female body may be more durable than fully realized. Then it is possible that there are exceptions in which women could reach the same level of strength as a man in terms of physical fitness capacity. Muscular strength is essential in many sports, but also muscular endurance. Women may have an advantage in this regard seeing as they can possess a higher amount of type I muscle fibers. There are sports that require muscular endurance such as marathon running. Sports like weightlifting require more brute strength.

        The one element of fitness that Andrew Peloquin does not discuss aerobic capacity. That is a difference in physical fitness capacity. The Vo2 max is lower in  women. Women have smaller hearts and lungs compared to men, which can effect running speed. Oxygen is important in providing energy to the muscles of the human body. A  recent study suggested that women process oxygen possibly more efficiently, but more data is required to make that definite conclusion . Hemoglobin must transport oxygen through the body. Women have lower levels, which effects total energy output. The role is critical to the production of adensoine triphosphate (ATP).  ATP is an organic chemical that provides energy to numerous cells. It must provide energy during muscular contraction, nerve impulse propagation, and chemical synthesis in the human body. Cardiovascular fitness, seems to important to be ignore when discussing the definition of physical fitness can its attributes.

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The lungs and heart of the human body which are needed for breathing and pumping blood.
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Physical activity involves numerous organ systems.
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Pelvis size can effect women’s running speed.

It seems almost curious that Andrew Peloquin does not mention cardiovascular fitness. That element of fitness does have a biological and physiological difference between the sexes. Although this is meant to be just a general overview, some pivotal information is omitted. Then he writes a contradictory statement : ” If you’re not seeing the same amounts of gain as your boyfriend/husband/male friend, don’t worry about it! Your bodies are designed differently, and what is “fit” to you is not the same as his definition of “fitness”. The amount of total physical fitness capacity acquired can vary among individuals regardless of sex. With multiple factors involved it would presumptuous to assume women would be worse at attaining physical skills. Human biological morphology is not a “design.” That implies a creator, rather than human body is a product of millions of years of human evolution, which resulted in sexual dimorphism.  The definition of Physical fitness has been established, so saying it changes in relation to biological sex would be incorrect. Women can attain a physical fitness level, but the physical fitness capacity differs due to physiological, biological, and anatomical factors. Although Peloquin’s claims are minor errors, he is correct that women can get in shape and improve health .

         Erin Coleman delineates how strength training differs for women. Her article has more research to provide support to her  claims. When examining Coleman’s statements, strength training may not be as radically different from that of men. What both Coleman and Peloquin fail to mention is that before embarking  on training or exercise, a fitness goal needs to be established. This way progress can be measured and documented. Training for aesthetics differs from training for functional fitness. Bodybuilding focuses on sculpting  the physique to look a certain way not to get stronger. Crossfit or weightlifting puts emphasis on increasing muscular strength to the highest degree.

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The only differences that come are with the final results of training. There will be slight differences in which sections of the body change from training. Women should not neglect to do exercise or train wit weight at certain volumes. Physical activity can be beneficial to overall health. It is only now that biomedical science understands its importance.

        Women ‘s bodies can see an increase in muscle mass and strength. While sex is a factor in the strength level a person can gain, It is not the only one. Body size and the skeleton are factors. Height and skeleton size can vary among individuals. A large skeletal frame would allow for larger support of bigger musculature. Genetics, nutrition, and type of exercise are essential. If a woman wants to build muscle she will have to lift weights. The mistake that women who engage in an exercise program is that doing cardio or just being on an elliptical they can attain particular fitness goals. Another notion that is not correct is that the female body is naturally frail. Women can handle strenuous exercise. However, pseudoscientific convictions still remain present in sports medicine and exercise physiology. Women’s bodies were thought to be biologically and physically inferior. The reality is that women’s bodies are just different due to sexual dimorphism.  The approach  to training and exercise must be modified. First understanding the amount of exercise required should be established. The recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine states ” adults should strength train two times weekly.” This may good enough to have a health maintenance goal in mind, but it will not drastically increase physical fitness capacity. Depending on the goal it would have to be increased for training sessions. The American College of Sports Medicine states ” Advanced lifters should strength train up to six times each week.” The problem with this is that it would be best to have two rest days in which the body recovers. Not getting enough recovery or rest could sabotage fitness goals. The fitness recommendations have changed over the years, so it is important to be knowledgeable and updated. Finding the right personal trainer or fitness expert can help a person get started on an athletic endeavor.

        The degree in which women can gain strength and muscle depends. The average woman may not have as much strength as the average man, but a woman who trains seriously can reach range close  or equal to a man with no weight training experience. Then this also depends on somatotype. Ectomorphic and endomorphic bodies may have more difficulty building muscle. Every man is not going to easily build muscle. A man of an ectomorphic body type would be weaker than a woman of higher fitness.

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The biggest difference in strength can be seen in the upper body. Women are closer to men in lower body strength, which means in the legs it would be easier for them to build mass. Genetics, specifically explain why male and female bodies have a different morphology. The SRY gene provides directs for producing sex-determining y region protein. This type of protein plays a role in male development. There are 46 chromosomes in each cell, however there are also sex chromosomes. Women have a XX karyotype and men an XY  karyotype. The sex-determining Y region protein causes the development of male gonads known as the testes. The testes produce more testosterone compared to the ovaries. Androgens that are produced in higher amounts in men’s bodies allow for more protein synthesis. This means men would have higher natural strength prior to embarking on a training regimen. Women’s starting point for muscular hypertrophy may be lower,  however their bodies may react better to a consistent training regimen over a number of years. It is very possible that woman with a body type with more muscle prior to training can make significant gains. When discussing strength it should be noted that big muscles do not automatically mean a person is physically stronger. The ratio of type II muscle fibers makes the determination. A bodybuilder could have large muscles, but not be able to lift as much as a powerlifter. Men tend to have more type II muscle fibers, while women have more of type I. The ratio can vary among individuals depending on genetic factors. While genetic advantage is helpful, nothing will advance with out proper training.

          The question of exercise is mentioned. Too often fitness divides exercise into “women’s workouts” or “men’s workouts.”  This seems both condescending and insulting to women. Women’s bodies can do various exercises and there should be emphasis beyond just mere weight loss. Weights have been considered a male sport activity, while women are either regulated to either cardio or elliptical exercise. Some women fear getting “too muscular.”  Notions such as these are ludicrous for multiple reasons. Being “bulky” or “too big” is a relative term with no basis in actual exercise physiology. Women who have some musculature could be considered huge to others. Weight training can be done by anyone at any age. You are never too old to exercise or improve fitness to some degree. Old fashioned ideas about women’s appearance and physical capabilities still linger. Women should not be afraid to add muscle to their frame no matter what degree. The results could be wide ranging. Others may get bigger some may see little change. Erin Coleman writes ” men and women should both perform a variety of upper- and lower-body exercises on a weekly basis.” Having a basic understanding of anatomy and the body can help navigate the expansive world of various exercises.

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There are major muscle groups in the human body. This includes the biceps, triceps, pectoralis major, quadriceps femoris, hamstrings, the gluteus maximus, the rectus addominis, and the soleus muscle. The calf muscle generally refers to the back section of lower leg anatomy. The hamstrings are are a collection of muscles along with their tendons at the rear of the upper section of the leg. These muscles of the hamstring section include biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. The calf muscle consists of the The gastrocnemius ,  soleus  and  the tibialis posterior. This also includes the triceps surae muscle. Seeing as the human body has multiple muscles, there are multiple exercises form them. Both men and women have the same muscular anatomy. Muscles can either be built through bicep curls, bench press, leg extensions, sit-ups, pull-ups, or calf raises. These exercises can be done by women. There still id debate on whether machines or free weights are the most effective.

          The likelihood of injury is a concern to anyone who exercises. Women due to their size, biology, and physiology may have a higher risk of injury. Training may add more tendon strength to a male body compared to a female body. The tendon is an elastic tissue that attaches muscle to bone. Any injury to tendons can be very serious. Professional female athletes are at risk for anterior cruciate ligament tears. Ligaments should not be confused with tendons. The difference with ligaments is that they are bone to bone or cartilage to cartilage connections. The purpose of mentioning ACL injuries is to demonstrate the need to train safely and prevent injury. Tendons are a connective tissue, that consist of  collogen fibres. Muscles have assistance in generating physical strength from tendons, bones, and ligaments.

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The reason that tendons are structured in such a manner is that they must withstand  muscular contraction. The tendon is composed of smaller units. The first is the collagen fibril forming the collagen fibre. The following order is the primary, secondary, and tertiary fascicles. There is both the endotendon and epitendon. Knowing this there are some safety precautions women should take before adjusting to a training regimen. Do not start off with the heaviest weight if you are a neophyte to weightlifting. Start with lower weight and gradually work your way to more. It is assumed that the male body can sustain more trauma and physical strain, it can even fall victim to injury. Over training, lifting too much than the body can handle, or using the incorrect lifting form. At the most extreme muscle or tendon injuries can happen. Rhabdomyolysis can occur when muscle tissue breaks down and proteins are released into the blood stream.

            Muscular endurance may be an advantage women have in terms of physical fitness. If women have more type I muscle fibers, then it would mean they would have more muscular endurance. Building muscular endurance requires a different technique. Increasing endurance would require doing more repetitions with less weight.Women may have less muscle fatigue, even though they may not have as much physical strength as a man on the same training regimen. Erin Colman wrote ” The ACSM suggests men and women should complete two to four sets of 10 to 25 reps, with 30-second to 1-minute rest periods between sets, to increase muscular endurance.” Further investigation is require to determine that nature of women’s muscular endurance. What is known is that women do not require any adjustments different from men to see an increase in muscular endurance.

       Nutrition and diet require adjustments based on individual physiology and sex. Metabolic rate could be different among individuals. Women will metabolize food into fat, which means they should be conscious about particular adjustments. Eating the right portion and getting enough exercise can prevent body composition from shifting to a fat ratio. Although Erin Coleman states the recommended amount of protein as listed in The Journal of Sports Sciences , it is still difficult to say exactly how much protein a person needs. She is correct when stating  calorie needs are based on activity level. She then states strength trained men require more calories. That can be debated. Women who restrict calories to such a high degree could basically starve themselves. As mentioned previously, caloric restriction is not the best method for weight loss. Erin Coleman goes on to say ” men and women who want to gain muscle mass should add about 500 calories to their menus, and adults aiming for weight loss should reduce current intakes by about 500 calories daily.” A person seeking weight loss should select different foods to eat and exercise, not reduce caloric intake. If a proper balance is done weight can be lost and remain off. The key is remaining consistent with exercise and diet regimens.

         The information that can be extrapolated from Peloquin’s and Colman’s assessments is basic for a beginner. Men’s and women’s fitness or strength training is not that radically different. There is a different response in relation to physical fitness capacity. The muscles and respiratory system do respond to exercise stimuli. The biggest error is using the body mass index to some how gauge fitness levels among men and women. The BMI is not useful in detecting weight issues or fitness. A better analysis comes from the ratio of fat to muscle in the human body. Women can perform the same exercises without causing extreme harm to their bodies. The challenge comes from tendon loading, which the anatomical structure does not get stronger for women during a training regimen. Although women differ in terms of body size, physiology. biology, and endocrine function that does not limit potential. Approaches in exercise need to be adjusted to suit their specific sports performance and fitness goals. What can said with scientific certainty is that women do not have a “different type of fitness.” There is one definition for physical fitness which includes its major attributes. Women can attain these with serious effort. There still is more to learn about how women’s bodies adapt to exercise and long term training. With more women involved in fitness and sports this will provide the perfect research opportunity.

 

Fit Day :How Women’s Fitness Differs From Men’s Fitness and How Strength Training For Women Differs From Men

Time Spent Sitting at a Screen Matters Less If You Are Fit and Strong

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How Screen Time Impacts Health

Sitting long periods of time has been found to have an impact on health. A study conducted at Glasgow University in the United Kingdom wanted to discover the full extent of possible risks of too much screen time. What they found in relation to cardiovascular disease, cancer risk, and general mortality was that people with the lowest amount of physical fitness were worst effected. They also examined grip strength, however that may not be as precise a measure of overall physical fitness. Electronic entertainment and television has been a part of many people’s lives. Video games, computers, TV, and mobile device have made us more sedentary. However screens and electronics are not  solely to blame. Few jobs require physical activity in a post-industrial technological society. Machine power has mostly replaced manual labor with a few physically demanding occupations such as the military, firefighting, law enforcement, Construction requires some physical activity, but that is even requires technology to erect buildings. The majority of jobs have a person either sitting at a screen or register in the modern world. The open access journal BMC Medicine published these findings in 2018. Lifestyle is important to maintaining good health. Proper diet and  exercise should be a focus in general health maintenance. There are sociological barriers that may prevent a person from having good health. Access to quality healthcare and affordability becomes an issue for a person of a certain socioeconomic status.   Discrimination based on race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation puts an abnormal amount of stress on certain groups which effects health outcomes. The environment itself can do so as well. Nations that are effected by warfare, climate change, or constant instability  drastically reduce life expectancy.

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Exercise has been proven to have multiple health benefits.
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While sitting for a small amount of time may not be harmful doing it for long periods may create long term health risks.
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Lifestyle  choices can have an effect  on health outcomes.

There would be a divide between nations in terms of health. Developed nations have higher life expectancy compared to undeveloped nations.  When nations reach a certain level of  technological development, new health issues emerge with the increase in life expectancy. The diseases such as  heart disease or cancer could be prevented. Sitting and limited physical activity does not effect everyone the same way.

            The study claims that increasing strength and overall fitness could stop the negative effects of  sitting in front of a screen. Dr . Carlos Celis stated ” our study shows that the risks associated with sedentary behaviour are not the same for everyone; individuals with low physical activity experience the greatest adverse effects.” He explains further : ” this has potential implications for public health guidance as it suggests that specifically targeting people with low fitness and strength for interventions to reduce the time they spend sitting down may be an effective approach.” While it is known that exercise or at least some physical activity should be a part a daily routine the question remains about amount. Then there is the question about how much screen time can induce a higher risk for mortality. Before a public health guideline is made, these questions must be answered.  If exercise and physical activity  is going to be prescribed like a drug, then their needs to be a specific dosage. It is possible that even a small amount of exercise is beneficial, but it needs to be enough to allow for prevention of chronic disease.

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If she sits down at a screen it may not effect her as much seeing as she has a high level of fitness.
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A person who is not even overweight could still see negative health consequences. Muscle and bone mass can be reduced from inactivity.
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One does not have to train to a high degree to see at least some benefits. Training for sports performance or health maintenance are two different objectives.

Having a precise method rather than just an accurate one can help create correct recommendation. There has to be a more specific means of measuring musculoskeletal health. Their must be also considerations in regards to a person’s somatotype and sex. Such differences among people could alter the data.

         The sample size was large enough to make a general assessment. The study collected data from 391, 089 people. The data was studied in the Biobank  within the UK. This was only done for people living in the UK, which makes one wonder how would other countries compare. If it was done in other countries and produced similar results, then it can be said the investigation’s methods are correct. The problem with using grip strength to predict mortality may produce inaccuracy. There is no way thus so far, to predict a person’s death. Grip strength can produce results that do not mirror reality. Males on average would have higher grip strength, which should mean  they should live longer. However, women have higher life expectancy and life span even under favorable conditions. This means hand grip measures would have to be adjusted in relation to sex. Also, a thinner person who is not in poor health condition, but does not have a high level of fitness could have a weak grip strength. The study did not mention the sex or just how low the fitness level was of participants.

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Men have higher grip strength on average.  Tests may be distorted due to the difference in hand size. The man could probably generate more grip strength than the physically fit woman, but may not be stronger than her.
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A  thinner woman could have a low grip strength , but that may not mean she is in poor health. She just has not a attained a certain level of fitness.
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Grip strength may just be a basic indication of  musculoskeletal strength. A more precise measure would be the amount of weight a person can lift.

This also bring up another curious consideration. There are people who have reached advanced age. The centenarians are of major interest to gerontologists and professionals of biomedical science.  Living to the age 100 is an incredible feat.  While there is no way to predict who will live to 100 , it would be fascinating to know what their grip strength was in their younger years. If it is high, then grip strength can be used as proper indicator for health through a life time. The grip strength test could be adjusted in relation to age. The younger adults would have higher grip strength compared to the elders. The 80 to 100 age range would have to have a determined average grip strength. If the older people within that age range have higher grip strength, then it can be considered a credible measure. Jeanne Calment was the world’s longest living human being documented reaching the age of 122. There is no record  of her grip strength, but it can be verified she had an immense amount of durational strength.

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Jeanne Calment’s  (1875- 1997)  genetics could have played a role in her longevity.
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Grip strength comparisons would have to be done with some one in the same age range. A younger person would have more strength, which would alter the data.
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Men will have higher grip strength than women, but this does not predict that men will live longer. The opposite is true with women living longer on average.  Grip strength comparison should be divided by sex.

A good amount of skepticism should be given to any scientific study.  Dr. Celis  articulated ” while fitness testing can be difficult in healthcare and community settings, grip strength is a quick, simple and cheap measure, therefore it would be easy to implement as a screening tool in a variety of settings.” There needs to be a reliable fitness test not just a general indicator of the possibility of a negative health outcome. Even the conclusion of the study hold doubts.

       A good scientific study continues to ask questions and criticizes its own results. The major issue with the study was that the amount of screen time was self reported. Physical activity amount also was brought into question. As stated in a summery ” the researchers caution that the use of self-reported screen time and physical activity data may have impacted on the strength of the associations drawn in this study. ” Making correlations should be done cautiously when deciphering the information. Generally what  the researchers realized was this major flaw : “the observational nature of the study does not allow for conclusions about cause and effect.” Screen time, fitness, and health outcome may not have a cause and effect relationship. There has to be relationships between these factors. Screen time would not be an issue unless there is enough physical activity in a daily routine to avoid negative health effects. 

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If their is a balance between the two screen time would not effect the majority of individuals. TV, cell phones, or video games themselves are not the culprit. Nor is long use or screen time. The issue may  be related to a general lack of physical activity. The reason the  physical fitter people are not as effected is because they are active, which means the time spent in front of a screen matters less. Screen time is not the issue, rather the rise of a sedentary lifestyle.

              A sedentary lifestyle has negative health consequences. Metabolic differences could effect how much it could alter health. Basal metabolic rate differs among men and women. This means a woman has a lower metabolism while sitting.  Women due to a difference in endocrine function have a harder time losing weight. Combined with more time sitting it could be a potential risk to maintaining a healthy weight. Health related to the neck, back, and eyes may also be effected by extended periods of screen time. The spine is important to human posture. Sitting too long and cause back pain. The neck pain can occur from keeping it in one position for an extended period of time. Eyesight can worsen from too much screen time. These health issues were not mentioned in the report, but can be avoided. It just involves moving around during extended periods using a computer, TV, or mobile device. Stretching could also be useful. Their is a sex difference related to what extended periods of sitting can do. Women who have less musculoskeletal mass would probably  be effected worse by physical inactivity. However, regardless of sex somatotype may protect some people. Thinner and people with more fat tissue are at greater risk compared to a person who is more physically fit. This become a greater concern when examining diseases such as osteoporosis, sacropenia, or heart disease. One should not relinquish their technology, rather get enough exercise to prevent chronic illness.

Time Spent Sitting at a Screen Matters Less If You Are Fit and Strong