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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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

How Viral Image of Breasts Exposes Science’s Obsession With the Male Body

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The correct visual representation of women’s breast ducts.

How a viral image of breasts exposes science’s obsession with the male body

Too often people in the digital age of media believe what ever is presented on a web page. A viral image of women’s breasts ducts and anatomy of the upper body generated some controversy. The problem was that it  demonstrated that  large portion of people do not have a basic understanding of anatomical structures . Women’s bodies especially either remain taboo or a mystery to some. The viral image was not even a correct representation of women’s ducts. The problem is that they were depicted like muscles,which they are not. It seems it also has generated more conversations about how biomedical science and anatomy treats the male body as a natural default. This is a serious problem when it is known that sex can determine health outcomes. However, there are some who desire to politicize anatomy and biology. Jill Filipovic gives a fourth wave feminist perspective,that may have a valid point but then goes off on a tangent. Her compliant can be summarized in her thesis that the male body is default and that women’s organ systems are not fully represented in medical textbooks and literature. She then states further that women’s skeletal,muscular, and nervous systems are not fully depicted in medical illustration.  The biological reality is that these organ systems have minor or little difference between the sexes. So in that regard, there would be not reason to say that lack of female diagrams is the problem. The real issue is that women’s health and anatomy is not taken seriously as a field of scientific study. More women need to be involved in the biomedical fields. While presenting male bodies as default is an issue the biggest problem is that people do not realize our bodies can be similar.  The public must become more knowledgeable about anatomy. Jill Filipovic like many have not gotten the quality science education that should be given to every person. Adding  more female medical illustrations to textbooks can help, but spreading correct information about women’s bodies is more important.

          The muscular and skeletal structure of men and women is not that radically different. Jill Fillopovic did not seem to realize this : “And yet it’s also clear that the default is a man.” Prior Fillopovic said without skin and a face its not obvious you are looking at man. The most incorrect statement is  “even without milk ducts, the scientific images of human bodies that we typically see have male builds and musculature.” Women’s bodies have the same muscles as men. When comparing muscle cells, there is not a sex based difference in histology. The assumption is that only men have muscular builds and that women do not. Women can vary in terms of somatotype meaning they can be endomorphic, mesomorphic, or ectomorphic. Even with this difference between body types women carry a higher body fat percentage. The only difference in male builds is broader shoulders, denser bones,  and a higher percentage of muscle mass.  Other than that women can have varying levels of musculature depending on genetics,fitness level, and somatotype.

Women can have muscle and develop it through training. Displayed here is an example of a diagram of the female muscular structure. All the parts are the same as the male muscular system. 

There is the false notion that women do not have muscles. Medical illustration may feature the male body for the muscular system mainly because it is based on the idea that men are physically superior to women. The image of strong powerful man and weak woman has distorted people’s views of biology. Muscles and constitute nearly half of a person’s body mass. The study of the muscular system is known as myology. This field has become useful in terms of healthcare and fitness. Rehabilitation programs have been developed from such studies. There are three major muscle types that include visceral, cardiac, and skeletal muscle. The muscular system refers to skeletal muscles specifically. There are about a total of 600 muscles that make up the organ system. Muscles are responsible for movement,stability, control of orifices, and heat production. The production of heat may come as a surprise, seeing as fat is a better insulator. Yet, muscle has the ability to generate 85% of the body’s heat. The musculoskeletal system is different from just the muscular system. This organ system incorporates both the skeletal and muscle structure as well as ligaments with tendons. The term is designed to describe how both organ systems collaborate.

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The differences in the female skeleton include a wider pelvis, smaller cranium,  and narrower shoulders.
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Complex movements require multiple organ system during especially during physical activity.
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The knowledge gain from anatomy, physiology, and biomedical science has allowed people to manipulate their bodies.

The skeleton has a total of 206 bones all of which women have. However, a difference in bone density does have a sex specific health outcome. If women have less bone density this makes them more susceptible to osteoporosis or sarcopenia. Muscle and bone mass gradually declines with age. Women who have less musculoskeletal mass to begin with probably would need more load bearing exercises as a means of prevention. The fascinating part about the skeleton is that people have more bones in youth. At birth a baby can have a total of 270 bones. As a child ages the number decreases because the bone fuse into larger ones. When a  person reaches late adolescence to mid-20s  the number will be reduced to 206. Bones can  be classified into three types which include cortical, compact, and trabecular bones. Cortical bones have to support weight. Compact bones are stacked to be durable like the cranium. Trabecular bones use combination of both structures. Knowing that these organ systems are the same  for  both sexes makes  Filipovic’s argument for separate diagrams seem unnecessary.

            The nervous system does not differ immensely among men and women either. The brain consists of cells known as neurons,which  do not show signs of sex difference in structure.  There are slight differences in brain anatomy ,but this irrelevant considering everyone’s brain is different. MRIs and CAT scans reveal that the brains of individuals can vary regardless of biological sex .  Men do have larger brains,but this is due to difference in body size. Brain size is not an indication of intelligence. There could be indications that men and women’s hippocampus  regions differ. The amyglada also differs in size between the sexes. Men have more gray matter and women contain more white matter. Gray matter is the outer layer of the cerebral cortex,which contains 50 billion neurons. White matter is located in the interior having networks of  axons and lead down to the cell bodies of the cortex.  Neuroanatomy  and neuroscience also tell us that there may be sex specific reactions to mental illness and neurodegenerative diseases. Women could be more prone to anxiety and depression due to hormonal changes. However, men do not fair better with higher suicide rates. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease also become a concern for  both men and women. Women could be at greater risk seeing as they live longer.

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The nervous system  as seen through a medical illustration. There should be no issue which model you use when discussing this organ system,because sexual dimorphism is not as vast in it.
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Simple and complex movements require use of the skeletal,muscular, and nervous system.
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The structures of the brain are the same for both sexes.

This is why Beyonce’s comment about saying “I never seen a chart of a woman’s muscular system ” seems ridiculous . If we applied such reason to the brain and the wider nervous system this would be neurosexism. Therefore making diagrams displaying women’s nervous systems would  defeat the point. Anyone should know that when looking at a medical illustration of the nervous system, the default would not be man as Filipovic suggests. The nervous system is composed of three separate units. The central nervous system contains both the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system consists of the network of nerves in the body. The automatic nervous system is responsible for voluntary actions such as heartbeat, breathing, and  digestive processes. Assuming that every diagram or medical illustration follows the male as default  would be erroneous. The biggest problem is ignorance and lack of education about the human body.

        The milk duct three dimensional render  is not accurate. The comedic aspect is the reaction that came from social media. Saying blaming male as default cannot be applied in this situation. Ignorance and a weak education in regards to biology as well as health science can be the culprit. The problem is people may not have enough understanding about their anatomy and physiology to maintain good health. Limited information related to women’s bodies make them seem like something strange or abnormal. Combined with the taboos about the exposure or discussion about women’s bodies only endangers their health and psychological well being. The female body is normal and  natural. Milk ducts are not to be feared.

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A correct anatomical  illustration shows that the mammary ducts are not similar to a flower shape.
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The image that went viral. If a dissection were to be made of a female cadaver, this is not what it would look like.
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Contrary to popular fitness myth,lifting does not increase breast size.

The graphic showed the milk ducts of women’s breast as being similar to flowers in shape. Obviously, women’s mammary glands are not shaped like that. Giving the image the description  of flower shaped is problematic,because rarely are petals arranged in such a perfect circle. The ducts are incorrectly depicted as some form of skeletal muscle. Women do not contain skeletal muscle in their breasts. The breasts themselves are mostly fat tissue. Epithelial cells constitute the lobules and ducts in women’s breasts. The only muscles known as areola  are the dark areas around the nipple. This muscle must remain firm when a infant is getting milk from their mother.  The argument of male musculature being depicted too much can be challenged even with the upper body. Women also contain pectoralis minor and major muscles. It cannot be argued that anatomy and physiology are part of a giant patriarchal conspiracy. There is a tendency for third wave feminist to reject scientific facts or attempt to infuse it with their ideology. It cannot be ignored their still remains misogyny and sexism in scientific institutions. The male as default concept came about from historical circumstances and the fact that women were not as involved in the medical fields as they are today. Before condemning anatomy and the biomedical fields it should be remembered that women were scientific pioneers as well.

          Anatomy has a history going back  3000 years ago. Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilization  were using herbs, faith healing, and early forms of physical therapy to help patients with a number of ailments. Hippocrates (460- 375 B.C.E)  was the Greek physician to state that disease was not the cause of supernatural forces, rather natural causes. Aristotle ( 384 – 322 B.C.E )  made contributions to anatomy by proposing the idea complex structures were made out of smaller units of the human body. Claudius Galen (130-200 C.E.)  became the most influential physician with his works being taught in Europe for 1,500 years. The problem with his works is that he dissected animals , rather than human cadavers. When Christianity dominated Europe science was suppressed and it was not until the 16th century till a new age of freedom was established. During the Middle Ages religious dogma restricted scientific advancement and free thought. Islamic civilization did not have the same restrictions on scientific curiosity. There was also Jewish contribution to anatomy by Moses ben Maimon ( 1135-1204). Ibn Sina ( 980- 1037) wrote The Cannon of Medicine, which became a leading authority. Italy would later become a major center in the study of anatomy when the Catholic Church relaxed its policies on cadaver dissection.  The major turning point was with Andreas Vesalius’ ( 1514-1564)  De Humani Corpis Fabrica .This ushered in a rich history of detailed medical illustration still present today. While it was mostly men who pioneered anatomy women made significant contributions. Alessandra Giliani  was an anatomist in the 14th century who carried out her own dissections. Most of her work has not been preserved. It was alleged that she was involved in the exploration of the circulatory system. A technique she used was to drain the cadaver of blood replacing it with colored dye. Alessandra Giliani  may have been the first female anatomist in Europe. Anna Morandi Manzolini during her time gained more notoriety.  Not only was she trained in the sciences, her skills as a sculptor were astounding. Using both her skills in anatomical science and art is solved a problem. Bodies used for dissection fell victim to decomposition,but with wax models students and academics had a three dimensional representation. An illustration can only go so far. Seeing  the organs and their systems provides more information than  what an illustration can provide.

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Alessandra Giliani (1307- 1326) 
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Anna Morandi Manzolini (1714- 1774) 
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Laura Bassi (1711-1778) 
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Jane C. Wright  (1919-2013 ) 

Manzolini became a professor of anatomy and taught at the University of Bologna. Her collection of wax models became a valuable teaching aid as well as an important source of biological knowledge.  Her studies focused on the male reproductive system and the the nature of the oblique eye muscle. Over the course of the 18th century she amassed a huge collection of models she constructed. Her works were known as the Supellex Manzoliniana . Manzolini was not the only female anatomist in Europe at the time. Laura Bassi was not only active in biology and anatomy she was responsible for bringing Newtonian physics to Italy. During the 1760s she conducted experiments with electricity for medical purposes. The 20th century saw more women in medical fields. Jane C. Wright  was a pioneer in cancer research and chemotherapy. Using human tissue culture was a way to see the true attributes of how cancer grows and spreads. This many it easier to produce effective drugs. Jane C. wright also was a harbinger in the use of methotrexate as a medication to fight both skin and breast cancer. Many women have been written out of scientific history. What  Jill Filipovic  does not realize is that science does not have an obsession with the male body. The real problem is the ignorance about biology, anatomy, and  the history of medicine.

          The reason that the male as default in anatomy came about could have been to the ratio of male and female cadavers available for dissection. More male  bodies were used in the past,which may have caused a distorted view. Few women were involved in the biomedical sciences, which meant that fewer people were studying female anatomy. The comical statement of  Filipovic is ”  It may seem like a stretch to say that we haven’t seen milk ducts for the same reason we haven’t had a female president. ” Certainly, any rational person  can see that is a stretch. The fact female biology and anatomy is not given attention is more of neglect, rather than vicious sexism. Not voting for someone based on their sex  is an example of  prejudice. The wider symptom is that there needs to be more women in the sciences with a concentration in women’s health. More female based medical illustrations will not solve problems that involve institutional sexism. Distorted thinking such as men being considered normal and women biological anomalies can be challenged with more education. Public schools must add more biology, anatomy, and health sciences courses to counter myths.  The irony is that Jill Filipovic falls victim to her own limited understanding of the human body. Third wave feminists were fast to declare patriarchy surrounding the image and responses to it without realizing the image was an inaccurate representation. The fact that one think about man as default when looking at the image only demonstrates, how the public has a poor understanding of sexual dimorphism. It can be flexible relative to certain attributes,yet men and women are the same species. Women’s bodies are not unusual or bizarre they are products of millions of years of evolution.

How Viral Image of Breasts Exposes Science’s Obsession With the Male Body

Daily Mail: Are Women Really the Weaker Sex? The Intriguing Medical Facts That Settle the Oldest Argument of All (2008)

 

The Weaker Sex ? What Medicine Tells Us

The term weaker sex was a general statement that women were both mentally and physically inferior to men. Historically, biomedical science also made this assumption and as a result women’s health did suffer. While it is obvious there are biological and physiological differences among the sexes, this does not indicate either superiority or inferiority. The biological sexist normally use men’s greater strength as an example of male superiority. Even more ludicrous is the argument that men’s mental capacities are greater. On average men are  physically stronger, but that does not mean women cannot be strong. Intelligence varies from person to person regardless of sex. Arguments for biological superiority lack cogency. The frailty myth still continues to be a part of the consciousness of  in the study of medicine and biology. Loweri Turner makes the wrong conclusion in her investigation. She claims ”  overall, when you add up the number of individuals affected by all these conditions, women are the weaker sex.” Turner asks the question which sex is better built to withstand disease. The assumption is that men with their greater physical strength are better suited to survive and avoid disease. The fact is women will live longer on average even when health conditions and environment are optimal. Even in countries with low live expectancy women still out live men. Women have more durational strength. Sex differences in biology and physiology do have a impact on health and how the body reacts to disease.

          Bone health becomes a concern as we age. Men have greater bone density contributing to more physical strength. It is not just the muscles, but the frame where the muscles are placed. Women’s lower bone mass and density means that they are more vulnerable to osteoporosis or possible stress fractures. Men can be at risk for bone diseases under certain conditions. According to  Professor Ignac Fogelman men can get osteoporosis from genetic factors or long term use of cotiosteroids. Excessive drinking and alcoholism could be contributors. Women can lose bone mass during menopause due to a decrease in oestrogen levels. Hip fracture becomes even more of a concern. Men and woman are about as equally vulnerable to hip fracture. The reason why the numbers for women look high is that men do not live long enough to get certain aliments. Osteoarthritis refers to when the cartilage in your bones wears down overtime. This can strike at nay joint, but commonly occurs in the knees, hands, hips, and spine. Women are more effected, because they have less bone mass and density to work with.

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Osteoarthritis will overtime erode cartilage
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Osteoarthritis can effect a multitude of joints.
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Weight training or resistance training can help maintain bone and muscle mass.

Women are not doomed to having bone related diseases unless they take certain steps. Having a proper amount of calcium and vitamin D can maintain bone health. Exercise such as load bearing exercises are important. Women need to incorporate weights into their exercise regimen. Knowing the risk factors and the nature of the diseases can aid in prevention. Race and body type can put certain individuals at risk. Asian and white women may have a higher risk factor compared to other groups. Thin people may be at risk considering they would have lower bone mass. Examining bone does not provide enough to say they men are tougher in fighting disease. The only way to fully assess that is to have men live longer in the nonagenarian stage. The what this reveals from a biomedical perspective is that women must focus and be aware of bone health more so than their male counterparts.

    The muscular system requires attention in regards to an individual’s overall health. Not only is this important to average people, but professional athletes. Women have made their mark in the fitness and sports world in such a short period of time. Some even thought that women would one day be taking over: ” there has been a lot of controversy in the sports world about whether men’s apparent physical advantage is on the wane.” It seemed as if women were breaking many records in the 1980s. The erroneous perception was that women were going to catch up to men in Olympic athletic performance. Some attribute this to performance enhancing drug use, but this would not have caused a major change due to the fact it did not alter women genetically. Drug use is higher among male athletes, so the records will never be complete representation of natural human performance. Women do not need drugs to reach impressive athletic performance. Turner notes: “a look at the bulging muscles sported by some female Wimbledon champions proves that female sportswomen aren’t the delicate flowers they once were – some experts have argued that women will eventually equal men’s speed and strength.”  Its not just female tennis players, women athletes from various sports a displaying bigger and more powerful physiques than would not have been imaginable before.

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Women’s sports performance as a whole has remained stable since 1983. There is a 10 % difference in athletic performance in certain events in the Olympics. While men are on average stronger, they do not have a monopoly on physical strength. Women’s bodies are different, but that does not make them inferior. Women’s muscles respond to weight training stimuli in a similar fashion. They are capable of muscular hypertrophy, yet there is a difference in physical fitness capacity. The muscle cells as far as anatomists and exercise physiologists know are the same in both men and women. Muscle contraction and physiology operates in a similar manner between the sexes. Strength also is related to muscle fiber type. Type II muscle fibers are better designed for more power compared to more endurance based type I. The amount of type II muscle fiber can vary depending on genetics, but on average males have more type II.

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Men have more of their strength concentrated in their upper body.
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These are the capabilities of the muscle fibers
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Bigger muscles do not always mean more strength. A weightlifter could be stronger than a bodybuilder. Margie Martin here is training for sculpting a physique, rather than building strength.

The average woman may not equal a man in strength,but the female athlete can. Sometimes they can be stronger depending on height and total weight.Male muscle is not  better than female muscle, rather it is a difference in total mass. This does effect agility. Smaller bodies are not the most agile ones. This is more dependent on how fast one can accelerate and decelerate muscles. Men may have an advantage according to exercise  physiologist Harry Brennan. Women seeing as they have looser joints have more flexibility. This would be useful in sports such as gymnastics. When looking at strength it should be examined from a point of power scaling. The weakest woman would not have the same strength as the weakest man. The strongest woman would not be able to perform physically on the same level as the strongest man. There are those rare exceptions. Obviously, being female does automatically make a person weak. One benefit related to women’s endocrine function is that women are more fatigue resistant and possibly can recover faster from a training session. Estrogen B may act as a form of protection to muscular tissue. If examined from the initial starting point of a weightlifting program, women react well to strength building exercise. It still is unknown what women’s full potential is physically. Only when more research is done on female athletic performance can that question be answered. The muscle quality can be the same for both men and women the difference is in total power. When seeing the numerous weightlifters, bodybuilders, and crossfit athletes the weaker sex concept  is another falsehood. Besides physical strength, there is durational strength. Men and women sometimes react differently to other aliments or health conditions.

        Cancer can effect a person differently depending on their biological sex. Colon and lung cancer are the most common cancers that strike both men and women. Cancer by medical definition is the abnormal growth of cells. The result may be malignant tumors that appear on the human body. There are an estimated 100 types of cancer that exist. Sometimes cancer can be called malignancy. Colon cancer can occur when polyps in the large intestine begin accumulate. Polyps are not all cancerous, but some can become malignant.  Colorectal cancer refers to malignancy in both the colon as well as rectum. Diet and life style choice do play a major role in the chances of a person getting such as disease.The symptoms include blood in stool, loss of weight, weakness, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and irregular bowl habits such as constipation and diarrhea.

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The development of colon cancer. 
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Smoking can increase the risk of lung cancer.
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There is also a psychological aspect to health. People engage in self destructive behaviors to cope with the stress and challenges of life. Drinking and smoking may provide some type of mental relief.

Men tend to get more colon cancer compared to women. Lung cancer it seems also may effect more men. This has to do with lifestyle rather than biology . Historically, men have constituted the most of the consumers of cigarettes and cigars. Women do not do this behavior as much. Being overweight has been theorized to increase the likelihood of developing a certain type of cancer. The strange aspect of this is that one would assume that overweight women would have more cancer. Overweight men are according to Cancer Research UK are more at risk. Lucy Boyd an epidemiologist working with Cancer Research UK  believes there is a hormonal factor that protects women. Oestrogen has an effect on insulin. When having excess weight the body produces more insulin. There may be some indications in endocrine function that may explain this disparity. So far, it appears that men are more vulnerable to cancer.

      Coronary heart disease can be linked to high fat diets, lack of exercise, and  obesity . The United States and the UK face a public health problem with more citizens suffering from this disease of the circulatory system. As stated in the article ”  true, more men get it – but it also affects millions of women (1.5 million men, compared with 1.1 million women).” However, just because more men get it does not mean women cannot suffer myocardical infraction. The false perception of heart issues being “men’s diseases” needs to be discarded. Heart diseases can be prevent with proper diet and exercise. Weight management also should be factored into overall heart health. Women may fare better in heart related conditions due to hormones. The changes during menopause provide some indication of oestrogen’s  ability to protect the heart. Women tend to have myocardical infraction after menopause. At that stage, women’s oestrogen levels decrease.  This does not mean women who have not gone through menopause  will not get heart disease.

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The basic anatomy of the heart as shown in artistic rendition. Just like a highway it can get jammed or blocked leading to devastating consequences.
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Regular exercise can protect heart health.
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Diet also plays a role in heart and circulatory system health. High fat and sugar consumption can increase blood pressure.

Failure to maintain the health of the circulatory system may lead to other chronic health issues. Stroke can be lethal and if not treated properly could cause major damage to the brain. Environment once more can play a role. Sedentary life styles have given way to an increase in heart related illness. The heart is made of cardiac muscle which is also referred to as myocardium. Coronary heart disease causes the coronary arteries to become very narrow. As a result, blood flow is limited to the heart. Symptoms can include chest pains and even heart attack. There are some parts of the body that can be equally effected by both sexes which are the eyes and the ears.  As far as medical professionals know, there is no sex difference in ear and eye problems. Age causes changes in the eyes and ears. Hearing may become more difficult and eyesight also can become worse. Both men and women should be conscious of heart health, but there should be more focus on how biological differences effect outcomes.

        The brain could be the mots complex organ and even object in the known universe. Understanding mental health and diseases related to the brain becomes a challenge. There is a sex difference in mental health. Men are negatively effected by higher rates of schizophrenia. Jane Harris  who works with a charity Rethink states ”  up to 40 per cent more men are diagnosed with schizophrenia than women – and their symptoms tend to be more severe and treatment less effective.” Boys are more likely do be diagnosed with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.  Women according to Marjorie Wallace, founder of mental health charity Sane, are more likely to suffer from depression. There are multiple theories about why mental illness exists. There are genetic factors and environmental ones. Some have theorized that boys exposure to testosterone during their development in the uterus makes them vulnerable to certain brain diseases. Although there are some proclamations or ideas about this disparity that are not proven. Jane Harris claims ”  men are more likely to do things that put them at risk of developing schizophrenia – such as smoking cannabis. ” There has not been a definite link between cannabis use and extreme mental disorders. Addiction itself could be counted as a mental disorder and drug abuse is merely a product of that.  Another baseless claim was “medical research shows that heavy cannabis users are up to four times more likely to develop psychosis.”It seems unlikely that people with extreme psychosis are cannabis users. For so long, there have been myths propagated about this drug that the public can no longer distinguish fact from fiction. The use of marijuana poses limited health risk compared to cigarettes and alcohol. Gradually, the medical establishment are seeing its potential as a means of fighting disease and chronic pain. It is stated that women are more effected by certain mental health disorders such as depression overall. Yet, there is one factor that seems to challenge this accepted belief. Men have higher rates of suicide. This can be attributed to the fact men select more violent and effective methods to kill themselves. Even if that factor was not present the rate would be higher. Young men between the ages of 15 and 35 have been taking their own lives in the United States higher than since the year 2000. When examined from this perspective adults, children, and the elderly can be vulnerable to some form of mental distress or anguish at various periods during their life.

       Women may be more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases and disorders . What these diseases are is when the immune system attacks healthy cells. This makes it more difficult for the body to fight infections or harmful pathogens. Women are more likely to get the autoimmune disorder  rheumatoid arthritis. Women may have more vulnerability to hypothyroidism. There could be a possible hormonal reason for this. It has been noted that during pregnancy the conditions of rheumatoid arthritis improve.

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All microorganisms are not harmful to the human body. Bacteria that is present in the stomach plays a role in gastrointestinal health. Lymphocytes and white blood cells have to attack pathogens that could cause harm to the human body. White blood cells operate in the blood stream and other sections of the body. Lymph nodes are cells that must recognizes pathogens that are a threat to health. Autoimmune diseases can effect the skin, digestive system, nervous system, skeletal system, or other parts of the body which have healthy cells that are attacked by mistake. The examination of women and autoimmune disease is not given as much attention in women’s health. The reason for this disparity based on sex could be that there simply has not been enough research. The problem is that the medical establishment may think both sexes react in similar manners to diseases. This may not be a case of female frailty, rather lack of medical knowledge about sexual dimporphism’s relation to health outcomes.

       Reading the text, one would come to the conclusion that women are the weaker sex. However this lacks cogency when seeing total life expectancy. Women even under the best environmental circumstances live longer than men on average. This is seen in developed countries. Even in developing nations women still live longer. So, the conclusion by Lowri Turner ” overall when you add up the number of individuals affected by these conditions women are the weaker sex” is not accurate. If women live longer statistically, that increases the possibility of getting certain diseases. If this were to be a genuine test of strength or durability, men would have to have life expectancy be equal to women’s.

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Kane Tanaka has been confirmed one of the oldest people living in the world. She is 116. There have been a few men to reach their hundreds, but women outnumber them.
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Exercise can help contribute to a healthy body. Some health disparities can be overcome by basic lifestyle changes. An diet low in sugar or high fat can ensure better circulatory system health and weight management.
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On average men are stronger, but that does not mean every man is stronger than every woman. Women through weight training can increase their strength.  Strength is no longer seen as a male only attribute.

There is a consequence of living longer. The quality of life mad decline, if there are multiple illnesses a person gets. Cancer and cognitive decline become growing concerns with age. Dementia and are more lethal form of it Alzheimer’s disease may become a public health crisis when large portions of the population become senior citizens. This may harm women the most. Besides genetics that determine life span, environment also has a great impact. Living in a war zone, lack of adequate healthcare, poor diet, or limited reproductive rights can do enormous harm to women’s health. Despite this women seem to be the long lasting survivors. The myth that women are biological inferiors continues to be propagated, even though science has shown there is no such thing as biological superiority. An experiment or question of that sort cannot be measured nor determined. Sexists try to use physical strength as a measure of male superiority, but this crumbles when seeing women’s sports. While records are not equal to male performance, it demonstrates with enough training women can acquire physical prowess. As for health maintenance and outcomes, the medical establishment seems divided. Two factions fall between an emphasis on prevention and the other determined to find cures. Currently, it seems that there is more support for prevention for cures, rather than doing extensive biomedical research for cures. Both should be pursued simultaneously as a means of disease control. Yet, more medical professional appear to favor prevention or new treatments  ignoring quests for cures. While there are multiple diseases that are viral, bacterial,  or genetically inherited women seem to be handle chronic illness. Human evolution may have given women an edge in survival for the sake of producing offspring. Realizing this, scientifically there the idea of a weaker sex is not existent.

Daily Mail: Are Women Really the Weaker Sex? The Intriguing Medical Facts That Settle the Oldest Argument of All (2008)

Brenda Ragnot Asian Sensation

Brenda Ragnot  was a competitor that had a long competitive career. She was during the 1990s and 2000s one the few Asian American women to compete at the highest level of bodybuilding. Visibility is important especially for women of a different ethnic group. At the time there were very few Filipino American women bodybuilders on stage in the United States. Her competitive appearances were mostly at the Arnold Classic, Ms. International, and Brenda also graced the Ms.Olympia stage. Standing at only 5′ 3” she was a tiny powerhouse of pure muscle. Normally she would compete at 135 lbs and would be 160 lbs in her off season.  For her size her stats were also remarkable. Brenda’s arms measured 15 1/2 ” and a chest of 44.” Her quads were 24” and her calves were the same measurement as her arms. Born in Annapolis Maryland in 1966, her journey into the fitness world began in 1984. Her best wins include the Arnold Classic ( lightweight division) in 2000 and 2005.  Although she never got  a Ms.Olympia victory, she built a beautiful physique. Now at age 52, it seems she has retired from involvement in the fitness and sports world. Little information is available about her current projects and ventures. Brenda Ragnot had competitive longevity starting the sport at age 18 and retiring from competition at age 44. That was true dedication. Inspiration to do this sport comes for somewhere and for Brenda it was the documentary Pumping Iron II . 

As Brenda stated ” I saw a film called “Pumping Iron 2″ with Rachel McLish ( a Ms. Olympia in her days).” Brenda then realized that she like the look of muscles on the human body. The spark was ignited : “I was fascinated when I saw muscles on her and she was strong and sexy. ” At that moment she realized she wanted to train to be a bodybuilder. Brenda Raganot has said in a Models Observer.com interview “In the beginning, my parents weren’t too crazy about muscles on women but now they have accepted me as a bodybuilder and they have come to some of my shows to support me. ” This attitude is something common among traditional families when women enter fields that are not conventional.However, good parents support their children and seeing Brenda in competition would make family, friends, and fans proud. During her competitive years her schedule started as early as 3:30 in the morning. She would go do an hour of cardio then go to work by 6:00 am. During this time she was a postal worker. Brenda would be done with work  2:30 then go to the gym to train for an hour. Some days she would take a nap if really exhausted from work, then go train. Brenda Raganot would then go home, then eat. She would then add some more cardio into her workouts.

Working out to maintain mass is a chore, but so is food consumption. Brenda as she once articulated “ate seven to nine meals a day.” This certainly  was not cheap. Brenda Raganot claimed ” between the red meat & supplements, I’d say $2000 for me.” Other foods she would eat were vegetables, egg whites,  ground beef, and yukon Potatoes.  Competing is never cheap and the financial rewards are limited. The women that compete do it because they truly love the sport and want to see it flourish. The great aspect about Brenda was that she was not looking for fame, rather just the simple desire to have fun. She also had high respect for fans and their support revealing : Bodybuilding is my passion, my love and through bodybuilding I have met the greatest people the fans!” She also wrote on her website ” your support has touched me very deeply and has meant the world to me.” Sometimes it may seem that athletes may not appreciate the fans or from another perspective the fandom can be too suffocating. Brenda truly enjoyed interacting with fans and people who were curious about the sport. Brenda did get reactions to her physique, but most comments were positive. According to an interview she expressed ” I’ve always gotten nice compliments.” There were some stares she admits : ” people do stare at times but they look like they are just amazed or something. That look. ” Brenda Raganot’s advice to women interested in entering the sports was to find a knowledgeable personal trainer. She also strictly believes in keeping a journal as a means of tracking what foods an athlete consumes. Then enable to better control diet and manipulate the physique to a particular look. Her philosophy on posing was to do it with precision. Only then can a high quality posing routine be created and suitable for a competition stage. She became a professional in 1998 and began competing officially in 1993. Competing in a total of 25 contests the lowest she ever placed was in 15th place at the 2006 Ms.Olympia. One poor contest means nothing compared to the long list of events she appeared in. When she was not pumping iron Brenda loved to go dancing and going to the movies. Her favorite genres included comedies, romance, thrillers, and action.

Brenda Ragnot Asian Sensation

Princess of Prowess

Princess of Prowess

There’s a new web comic that should be of interest to regular readers here. This is  the story of a princess in a Medieval period in which magic and fantasy are a normal part of life. She is no ordinary princess, though. This woman has the strength of 100 knights. Princess Stephanie is a woman of physical prowess. What she does not know is that her evil stepmother is plotting her death and conquest of the kingdom. A Snow White or Rapunzel she is not, taking matters into her own hands. Princess Stephanie will become the kingdom’s strongest hero. This action adventure comedy is a mix between Disney animation tropes, familiar fairy tales, and Disenchantment. This is an enjoyable read with a strong female protagonist. Rarely do you see a web comic with a physically powerful female protagonist. Princess of Prowess is updated on Tuesdays. Show your support and become a reader.

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Princess of Prowess