Kristy Hawkins Interview (2017)

Kristy Hawkins speaks about her experiences in bodybuilding and her ventures into powerlifting. Kristy also discusses chemistry and her work in the chemical engineering industry. She also discusses how she balances her professional career and he powerlifting. Kristy said that she has learn much discipline. Kristy Hawkins also broke records in deadlift and squat. Kristy now trains with Dan Green and the results have been very effective. Kristy may have retired from the bodybuilding stage, but now is making a big impression in powerlifting. Fans will never forget her gracing the bodybuilding stage.

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Kristy Hawkins Interview (2017)

Will Women Out Run Men in the Future?

It was once predicted that women in track and field would reach or surpass men’s performance levels. These predictions were made in the early 1980s. The examination of Olympic records demonstrates a different outcome. Women’s Olympic records were stabilizing by 1983. After more drug testing it appeared women were reducing in speed. The use of performance enhancing drugs can not be the sole explanation for the increase in performance. Women at this time were still relative newcomers to international professional sport. Women were again gaining higher times by the 21st century, which sparked interest in possibilities of performance in female runners. While it is true women and increase their speed and strength, does this mean they will out sprint men in the future ? Some exercise physiologists have made predictions based on current data. There are claims that women will outrun men by 2156. Predictions can be wrong and many times unscientific. Stating it would never happen also causes some errors. To discover the answer to this question, it must be approached through methods of biology and physiology.

       There is a point in which athletic performance between men and women is equivalent. Boys and girls are at the same level of aerobic and strength capacity. The skeletons and bone structure has not been changed due to the effects of puberty. Puberty in terms of endocrinological changes works in the advantage of males. Men will gain a significant strength spurt, denser bones, larger lungs, and bigger hearts. The changes in women result in more body fat and the development of a wider pelvis. This means girls on a high school track team would see themselves getting slower. Girls who are on high school track and field teams normally seem to peak athletically as  freshmen and sophomores. This differs for various individuals. Average female runners may struggle more with the hormonal changes, than the more genetically advantaged. It has been noted that girls who have low body fat levels and exercise strenuously  may have delayed puberty. With gymnasts and sprinters this could result in a delayed growth spurt between the ages of 17 and 18. Training has to be adjusted to account for these changes. Weight training that concentrates on the hip areas can help prevent possible injuries. Weight management will have to be incorporated to account for the change in metabolism. Estrogen allows for more fat storage and extra weight does not contribute to increased acceleration.

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Despite these changes there are girls who attain higher speeds in adulthood and even go on to international competition. Although endocrinology explains the change in performance, it should not be forgotten that girls still face obstacles in sport. Title IX may not be enforced in certain school districts as it should. This would mean that girls would not have access to training facilities or even a team of their own. Other countries may keep women out of sport completely. Biology is not the sole factor, but environment. Women were only allowed to run in Olympic event starting in 1928. Men entry in running events in the modern Olympics began in 1900. During that time many argued women simply did not have the strength and stamina to run vigorously. This has since been disproved by exercise physiology. Still the influence of hormones on athletic performance cannot be underestimated.

       The legs of the human body allow for running to be possible. Men and women’s legs differ little  structure and anatomy. They contain the same bones and muscles. While men have more upper body strength, women are closer to men in the lower body. This does not mean women by default have stronger legs than men, rather it is easier for them to build strength in this region of the body. This does not mean women cannot build powerful legs through training. Type II muscle fibers would be best for sprinters who require short bursts of power. Type I muscle fibers are best suited for long distance runners. Men have larger muscle fibers, which means this would useful to the leg muscles. A runner uses a multitude of muscles when running.

 When moving the leg in the forward motion the quadriceps are utilized. This muscle is located at the front of the thigh and is responsible for straitening the knee, while bending the hips. The quadriceps also have the ability to absorb shock from impact as one lands on the ground. The hamstrings will straighten the hips and function to lift the knee behind you. Simultaneously, the soleus and gastrocnemius will flex and extend for each foot during launch and landings. The soleus and gastrocnemius contribute to absorbing shock, but also provide the stride in the rum. The gluteus maximus plays a role in running allowing for the stabilizing the trunk of the body. The hip  flexors and extendors collaborate with the quadriceps and hamstrings to keep the legs in motion.  Runners focus on building leg strength mainly to prevent injuries. When one muscle group is weak than the other this could to one over compensating and poor alignment. This could also result in repetitive motion injuries occurring in the knees, hips, and feet.

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plyometrics can be employed to improve performance. These exercises involve using jumping and bounding. These merely use hopping motions, while alternating legs to exercise deeper muscles of the legs. A muscle when exercised will increase in size. Muscular hypertrophy can occur in women through training, but men see a higher level of gains in total muscle mass. The reason is that higher testosterone levels allow for more protein synthesis. This results in a difference in absolute muscular strength between men and women. This even effects the legs.

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The muscles of the legs include the hamstrings, quadriceps, soleus, gluteus maximus, and gastrocnemius  which are essential for running.

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It is not just muscles that are responsible for strength, but the bones, ligaments, and tendons. The skeletal structure is critical when looking at running speeds. Technically, women can have larger leg muscles,but there are other reasons they may not attain the same speed levels.

        Women have lower bone mass compared to men. One factor that causes that explains women’s slower speeds is the structure of the pelvis. The female pelvis is different from that of men. It is wider for the purpose of childbirth. This also creates a level of risks in running . Women are more likely to have knee ligament injuries, due to a wider pelvis which forms a larger angle between the thigh and the shin bones. This means the knee will experience more pressure. The pelvis consists of the hip bones, sacrum as well as coccyx. It connects the lower limbs to the axial skeleton. The symphsis pubis, which is a disc structure of cartilage separates the left and right pubic bones. The main differences between the female pelvis is that it is lighter, more shallow, and the sacrum is much  shorter. Both ilium are less sloped, which means the anterior superior iliac spines are wider apart. The coccyx is more flexible in the female skeleton. The actual hip sockets are smaller and are directed more so to the front.

These differences do not seem to be advantages in terms of increasing running speed. If women’s pelvis’ were even wider they would not be able to walk. Men’s narrower pelvis contributes to faster speeds. Besides the actual pelvis, the bones of the legs are pivotal. The femur, tibia, and fibula are support structures for the muscles of the legs. The extra angling can make women more vulnerable to anterior cruciate ligament tears. Women just like men can also suffer from overuse of tarsals, metatarsals, and phalanges. Women ‘s looser joints allow for more flexibility, but in running it could pose problems. Muscles and bones are pivotal to running. There is also the importance of aerobic capacity and its relation to the respiratory system.

      Aerobic capacity differs between men and women. The VO2max is the amount of oxygen that is used during exercise. Women have smaller hearts and lungs which means their total aerobic out put would be lower compared to a man of a larger size. The muscles need oxygen to have it form adinosine triphosphate. The larger the heart means more blood pumping through the body, while larger lungs can oxygenate tissues. Realizing these differences in both the heart and respiratory system means women would require a specific training program. Women’s ventricular hypertrophy may not increase as much as a man’s given duration and intensity. Women do have an advantage in terms of pacing. Men may be more susceptible to muscle glycogen depletion, which women’s fat reserves can contribute to endurance exercise. One would assume this means women, may not be able to run any faster. The conclusion would be to design training tailored to these specific physiological and anatomical differences.

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The human heart can pump up to 80ml of blood with each beat.
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The respiratory system consists of both upper and lower tracts. The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle that contracts and flattens. The reduction of pressure on the thoracic cavity allows the lungs to expand downward. This will force air out and the lungs go back to regular position.

The heart anatomically and physiologically is the same in men and women. The heart’s structure is that of a muscular pump which is divided by the septum. It is further divided by two pivotal chambers. The upper atrium is the first chamber followed by a lower ventricle in which the blood will be pumped. The Vo2max  capacity is reliant on several factors. The heart’s total capacity to pump blood is essential. The lungs ability to oxygenate blood transported active muscles and other tissues also contributes a role in aerobic capacity. Then hemoglobin levels and the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood effect total aerobic output. Smaller lungs and hearts of women means that oxygen will be slower getting to tissues of the body. An athlete can breath up to sixty times or more per minute. The lungs are cone structured containing a narrow apex and base. There are only two, but the right has three lobes. The left lung has to make room for the heart and only has two lobes in total. The trachea acts as an airway, while the bronchi (left and right), their subdivisions,  and other lung tissues work on gaseous exchange. Besides the muscular system playing a role the cardiovascular and respiratory system are a major part of running performance.

       The anatomical and physiological traits are averages. It is important to this question to examine data of female runners. The samples are limited due to certain factors. The first problem is that women’s participation in sports are lower, which means their could still be women in the global population who would not be counted in data. Then there is the question of performance enhancing drug use. Men account for more of the users of performance enhancing drugs and women have used the same substances as well. The theory holds that women benefited more from performance enhancing drugs. Anabolic androgenic steroids some sports scientists say was the reason certain records were being set in the 1970s and 1980s. That cannot not be the only explanation for these records. It could have been a combination of training and use of performance enhancing drugs. However, if anabolic steroids were so effective women should have closed the difference in performance. The fact is that drugs would not turn an athlete superhuman. Steroids only alter the endocrine system, but will not change the individual at the genetic level.

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Women’s and men’s records as recorded in the 1980s.
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The change in records through the decades.

Testosterone is helpful in muscular hypertrophy, but not the only factor. A woman with a naturally mesomorphic body can develop muscle. A woman on steroids would not have the equivalent strength levels of a male athlete. The reason being is that the testes produce more free testosterone as compared to the estrogen produced in a woman’s body. This explains why when boys grow into men their natural strength becomes higher. The graph below shows some records of boys and girls, then men and women. The dramatic change happens around ages 14 and 15. The teenage boys seem to have higher records to adult women. This is a small sample gathered from women and men from childhood to puberty .Women do not gain a strength spurt, rather estrogen produces more fat. Whiles testosterone is a significant component it is not the only one. There was a slump in records after new testing procedures emerged, but women’s records began to rise a little once more.

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What can be extrapolated from this is that drug use was not the sole reason. The idea that drugs can produce victories without proper and precise training regimens is false. There are periods in which new talents emerge. Then it must be considered that there are attributes unique to an individual’s biology. An athlete would have a genetic advantage, which means other athletes attempting to break their records would find it insuperable.

       There are athletes due to their biology and genetics have an edge in competition. There are women through their performances have demonstrated this. Paula Radcliff finished the London marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 25 seconds in 2003 (running a 26 mile). This was an impressive leap forward. It also shows who records are altered by sports federations. The International Associations of  Athletics Federations declared in 2012 that they eliminated her time from the annuls of marathon records, because she was running with male pacemakers. That means women who run in mixed groups cannot have their times archived. This again is an example of how you cannot get precise data. There could be women like Radcliff running in mixed groups, but are not documented for records.Even though sexist prejudice does not recognize the record, it still is a documented time.  Florence Griffith Joyner was another remarkable talent. If we were to compare her fastest time (10.49 S) to Usain Bolt’s (9.58s). Joyner would still be slower yet the difference is only by 0.91s. That means she would still be close to him if this were a tack meet. Despite the anatomical and physiological differences Joyner was able to obtain a high level of physical fitness.

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Elaine Thompson during the Rio 2016 achieved a time 10.71s. Compared to Joyner’s record it is a difference 0.22s. Assuming that Elaine Thompson can improve her training, it would simple to reach or beat Joyner’s record. Usain Bolt’s record would be more difficult for her to reach. These are not your average track athletes, they a professional Olympic competitors. These women are not average; they are exceptional. What they achieved may not be in reach of every women who decides to compete.

This not only applies to women, but men as well. Every man would not be able to reach Bolt’s level of performance. Joyner, Thompson, and Radcliffe  are a few examples of how genes and training can develop a high performing athlete. Being female is not a limitation in terms of developing physical prowess.  There has to be consideration of biology and the physiological attributes of sex  when training. While it is clear these women can run faster than an average man, they still have yet to achieve speeds of the fastest men. One can assume that women will never do. Yet, just like making predictions it is fast conclusion. Human evolution has show that the body has changed over millions of years. The most dramatic is that humanity became bipedal. developed a more complex brain, and shorter intestines. Assuming that humanity could still be evolving physically, the question becomes more expansive.

       Oxford University produced a study in 2004 stated that in 2156 women will outrun men. This was a study led by a professor of the name of Dr.Tatem. Readers should again question material that they receive. Similar predictions were made in 1992 saying women would be out running men by 2000. The error they made was that performance would follow almost a linear model. The data shows more of a sinusoidal fluctuation. The Oxford study states that women sprinters will reach times 8.079s in the 100m. The authors then claim that 2064 will be the year in which women sprinters shall achieve higher performance levels. Their assessment was that women would not overtake men, but reduce the gap in performance. That seems more realistic, rather than the 2156 prediction of women dominating sprint performances. There is still much to be explored about sports performance. Women are often ignored in exercise physiology studies, because most are designed for men. There are efforts to change this now that women are entering this field. The mathematics of this study may not be as precise, but Elaine Thompson’s 10.71 second record makes it seem as if it is achievable. It would almost be impossible for a human being to reach a time of 4.5 seconds. There is a point in which the body reaches physiological peak. This means that there can no longer be improvements to strength, speed, or endurance because maximum levels have been reached.

         This question has several possible answers. The first could be that women will narrow the gap  and some will even overlap with men. The more conventional answer is that women will not out run men in the future and they have achieved all they can. The third answer may be that women will surpass men either by new training techniques, changes in human evolution, or changes in genetics. The third answer would be difficult to prove due to the fact evolution takes millions of years. There still genes being identified and it is still questionable which ones form a great athlete. Training techniques are revised overtime. There is considerable debate which results in the best performance. The second answer seems to just assume results will stay stagnant. Although looking at the data now shows that it seems unlikely women would out run men, one should never just assume. The situation could change, but not in this period. It was in the 1928 Olympics than many believed women were too weak for running. Now, women are running faster than the men of the 20th century. There is possibility of improvement or maybe women have reached their full physical capability. The reason men could be still improving is that they have not reached theirs yet. Examining performance from that perspective men would be behind. The more realistic conclusion is that women would narrow the gap. It would not be closed nor would women en mass outperform men. However, it it not impossible that individual women could reach male performance levels in the future.

References

Brewer,Sarah. The Human Body A Visual Guide to Anatomy.  London:Quercus, 2012.

Mcdonagh, Eileen and Pappano, Laura. Playing With the Boys : Why Separate Is Not 

   Equal in Sports. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

“UK | Women ‘may Outsprint Men by 2156’.” BBC News. BBC, 30 Sept. 2004. Web. 06 Apr. 2017. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3702650.stm&gt;.

George, Brandon. “Track Skills Often Decline as Girls Mature into Women | SportsDay.”SportsDayHS. SportsDayHS, 19 May 2010. Web. 06 Apr. 2017. <http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/high-school/sportsheadlines/2010/05/19/20100513-Track-skills-often-decline-as-girls-6083&gt;.
Tucker, Ross. “Women vs Men Part II: The Physiology of Difference | Science of Sport.” The Science of Sport. The Science of Sport, 27 Oct. 2013. Web. 06 Apr. 2017. <https://sportsscientists.com/2007/10/women-vs-men-part-ii-the-physiology-of-difference/&gt;.
Will Women Out Run Men in the Future?

Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?

A common fitness and biology myth is that muscle weighs more than fat. This is incorrect when examined from two different elements of exercise science. It should be understood that weight and mass are two different concepts. These terms are used interchangeably, but obviously do not have the same definition. Once these terms are understood it can help contribute to the understanding why muscle cannot weigh more than fat. Another factor that effects body composition is metabolism. Besides that the endocrine system plays a role and the hormones it produces. When engaging in a consistent exercise regimen, lean body mass can increase depending on genetic body type. Fat tissue will decrease, but it will appear as if weight has gone up. This can be easily explained by scientific concepts.

      Mass can be defined as ” the fundamental property which measures the amount of matter contained within an object.” One of the properties of an object with mass is to resist being moved. Objects with mass tend to resist a change in speed or direction. This phenomenon of physics is known as intertia. This explains why when a person runs at high speeds it is difficult for a person to change direction immediately. Weight can be defined as ” the total force exerted on a body due to gravitation.” Objects attract one another by gravitation, which is a fundamental force of the universe. To prevent confusion , science has used the units similar for weight on Earth and mass. Dayana Cadeau when competing weighed 150 lbs( 68.03 kg). If she were to be on a space ship her mass would not disappear from her body. She would be weightless, due to the face gravitation is not acting on her body. Gravitation is proportional to the mass and declines with distance.

 The Earth’s gravitational force is acting on her body. The only way to break free from it is to achieve escape velocity. Force is measured in newtons (N). Mass is measured in kilograms (Kg). When people use the phrase ” I want to lose weight” it should be I want to reduce the total mass of fat composition on my body. That would be more precise that losing weight, because the only way that would happen is if the Earth’s gravitation cease to exist. These concepts are the basics of classical physics. Newtonian mechanics falls under this branch. Physics mostly attempts to understand matter  and its relation to the universe. Understanding these definitions of mass and weight  explain why muscles weighing more than fat is not scientifically sound.

      There is the consideration of space used on the human body . Matter takes up space and the body is matter. Muscle is much more dense compared to fat. Muscle can take as much as four -fifths of space. This also relates to size of a person. A taller and larger person has the ability to sustain more total mass, because the skeleton would be larger compared to a smaller person. This also explains why a people of the same height and weight may wear different clothing sizes. It depends on the amount of body fat percentage and how it is distributed on the body. There also is a consideration in density. Density describes the mass per unit volume. It appears that muscle in a single unit may have more density if compared in a same size unit to fat. The average density of fat is 0.9 g/ml compared to 1.1 g/ml of muscle. Muscle can in liter form be 1.6 kg (2.3 lbs)compared to 9 kg (1.98 lbs). This does not mean a muscular person will weigh more than a fat person. These averages vary depending on if the person is extremely lean or morbidly obese. A kilogram  of muscle will still be equal to a kilogram  of fat.

It is clear here who would weigh more. The muscular person will not have more mass compared to the fatter person. 

This can be deceiving, but it does not automatically the muscular person would weigh more. That also explains why the body mass index is not entirely accurate measure of healthy weight. A short muscular person could be inaccurate placed in the obese range simply because their mass in not in that height bracket.

         When discussing fat and muscle there is the consideration of metabolism. The endocrine system and hormones also play a role in this process. Estrogen and testosterone function differently. Muscle has the ability to burn seven to ten calories daily per pound. Fat can only achieve two to three calories daily per pound. Testosterone has an anabolic effect on the muscular system allowing for greater muscular hypertrophy. Men produce more, which explains why it is easier for them to lose weight and gain muscle. Women do produce testosterone, in lower levels and estrogen increases body fat. Even the most muscular woman still carries close to 8% body fat. Muscle still can be a great burner of  calories. Getting engaged in a strength training regimen can help burn at least for to six calories a day. It is possible under a consistent exercise regimen to gain at least five pounds of  muscle mass in three months depending on morphic body type. This requires consistent use of the muscles through exercise to increase net caloric effect. It is plausible that in a span of months( under a training regimen) this can amount to 30 calories per day. The basal metabolic rate describes the calories you burn during rest. Oddly enough, this amounts to 75% of the calories you burn in a day. It is good for one’s health to keep body fat low and remain active. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers are associated with weight related problems.Understanding metabolism and how it works with hormones can help prevent such ailments.

         Muscle can make you gain mass and increase weight. This is lean body mass, but it is not harmful. Weight that is gained through excessive eating, gland or hormonal abnormalities, or being too sedentary can be hazardous to health. Diet is essential to any training regimen. Weigh loss can be effective with diet, but with exercise it will be permanent. This reveals that different forms of training can produce varied results. If one wants to merely lose fat, without lean body mass gain, it can be done.

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Losing mass in terms of fat is demonstrated here.
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Here is a demonstration of gaining muscle mass in exchange for fat.

What this comes down to is what method is used and what are the particular fitness goals. This is the difference between exercise to gain weight ( muscle mass) and exercise to lose ( fat tissue). Strength training is emphasized when trying to gain or make weight. Majors muscle groups have to be exercised including arms, legs, chest, and abdomen. This includes working each muscle group in an exercise session. Besides training rest is also pivotal. The body needs time to repair the muscle tissue that will be rebuilt into a stronger muscle. Losing fat tissue rather than gaining muscle mass has another technique. It has been common to either emphasize aerobics or cardiovascular exercise a method. However, recently it seems that solely doing these exercises may not be enough to be effective. Using both weight training and some cardiovascular exercise has been found to be more efficient.The increase in lean body mass does not mean a person failed in their fitness goal.

       Muscles based on what is known about exercise physiology and physics cannot weigh more than fat. Weight being the function of gravitation explains this. The term that should be accurately employed is mass. Density also is another concept that gets used interchangeably  with these terms. There are numerous fitness myths that are spread around. This one tends to be another common one. Limited knowledge could sabotage some individuals. A woman seeking to reduce body fat may try strength training and be alarmed at what the scale indicates. It is not showing that you gained fat tissue, but lean body mass. They may quit a method that is effective without realizing it . Full comprehension between the definitions of mass and weight can help end the confusion. Weight and mass are not the same entity.

Further Reading

Kent, Linda. “A Pound of Fat Vs. a Pound of Muscle.” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 21 Apr. 2015. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/438693-a-pound-of-fat-vs-a-pound-of-muscle/&gt;.

Sheldon, Lyenne. “Can Gaining Muscle Make You Gain Weight?” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 13 May 2015. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/392136-can-gaining-muscle-make-you-gain-weight/&gt;.

Barnes-Svarney. The Science Reference Desk. New York : The Stonesong press, 1995.

Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat?

The Shake Weight

The Shake Weight is a dumbbell with the ability to oscillate. The claim by the company that produces the product is that it has the ability to give more of a work out than a traditional weight. This exercise device was created by Ben Kunz for the company FitnessIQ. There have been many contraptions and machines that are for exercise, but many of them do not work. Then there are products that are minimally effective compared to traditional methods. The reason these products sell well is that advertisements are persuasive and the public has a lack of knowledge about exercise or the human body. Gullibility and a fast solution explains why exercise equipment  such as this sells well. When examined in a scientific manner the shake weight is not effective. There are also some of the common pseudoscientic convictions in regards to female body and fitness. This was originally marketed as a female exercise product, but later release a “male” version. The difference between the female and male version is weight. The female shake weight is 2.5 lbs and the male version is 5 lbs. Again, it seems the frailty myth is presented in a subtle manner. There is no reason that the women’s weight should just be 2.5 lbs. Five pounds is no so immense that women could not handle it. That is about the equivalent of a bag of flour. Anyone who cooks realizes these bags are not that heavy. FitnessIQ claims that the shake weight can tone biceps, shoulders, and triceps. The official comment of the company is ” The product’s technology has been scientifically proven to increase muscle activity more effectively than similar size dumbbells or push-ups.” A general understanding of exercise physiology disproves the effectiveness of the Shake Weight.

         The Shake Weight was introduced to the market in 2009. During its first year being available it sold 2 million units. The following years it reached 4.5 million sales.The Shake Weight is commonly found at Walmart and Walgreens. This exercise product since being introduced has made its way into popular culture. The motions it induces and the way in which it is held has suggested sexual innuendos. Parodies and spoofs have appeared on the Daily Show, South Park, and Saturday Night Live . These references could have increased sales. Exposure is important to the success of a product. The commercials and infomercials are known for their exaggerated claims of effectiveness. They state the Shake Weight can burn calories five times faster than normal weights.  This is simply not biologically possible. Working out with regular weights would require more energy, if done at a longer period of time. The Shake Weight recommends that an individual only exercise for six minutes. They claim six minutes with the product can be more effective than a 32 minute work out. This does not prove to be accurate when testing it in terms of exercise science, physiology, and biology.

          The Shake Weight functions on a series of vibrations. There are spring loaded weights at both ends. The vibrations are designed to “tone ” muscles in a six minute work out. There is a problem with the marketing terminology. The term “tone” is not a real biological process. The fact is toning is building a small amount of muscle. This term is directed at women rather than men, because society still thinks muscles and strength are for men only. The term toning is used to not scare average women away from fitness or ones who are closed minded about muscular women.

shake-weight

It is dubious that a serious woman athlete would even use this device. Looking at its five and two pound versions its clear that this does not build muscle. It uses high repetitions at lower weight. Immense weight with fewer repetitions promotes growth in muscle. Women are normally discouraged from lifting heavy, but this is a mistake. Smaller weights will not produce effective results. The weights have to be heavy enough to provide at least some resistance. Smaller weights at two pounds or less will not be helpful in building strength or burning fat. Lighter weights could possibly be better for muscular endurance, but larger ones at lower repetitions are better for strength.

 The Shake Weight would only be effective for a person who has not had training or exercise prior physical activity. At best they would see modest or minimal gains. A person who weight trains regularly would not see dramatic gains in terms of musculature. The woman who is either a weightlifter, crossfit competitor, or bodybuilder will not see improvements in performance from the Shake Weight. The average woman considering her exercise and strength levels are lower may see some improvement, but not as effective as free weights. Part of the public relations slogan is that the Shake Weight “allows you to exercise without leaving your sofa.”

   Exercise takes effort and consistency. These two values are something people have lost living in modernized society. The desire for results with limited or no effort is what the American public in particular likes the most. That is why there are consumers that are drawn to this product, that clearly does not produce the effects it claims. There are some who even think that it has the ability to burn fat right off the arms of the body. The American Council on Exercise has stated that the Shake Weight does not provide necessary stimulus to the arms. The 2 1/2 pound weight is too light to be effective the council discovered. The added five pounds may not make much of a difference either. Muscle has the ability to burn fat and this device is not inducing the level of muscular hypertrophy to make that possible. This becomes even more humorous as this is also marketed to men. The image that is constantly used in advertisements for exercise equipment usually features a very muscular man. It is clear that the man or woman in question did not develop that upper body through the Shake Weight.

  It is not possible to just burn off fat in a single area of the body. It does not work like a heat seeking missile. Building muscle or losing weight requires a specific diet or certain strength training exercises  bicep curls, tricep extensions, and push ups. These activities should be enough to reduce weight. At this point, an observer should realize that there would be no need for the difference in weight for the product. There are women who could handle the five pound version. Calling it the “male version” is an attempt to market it as something intense and add a machismo to a device seen as feminine. Fitness advertising wants to tap into that male machismo, thinking the product can transform the male buyer into an Adonis like figure. This fantasy is shattered, because there are women out there who are lifting more than 5 lbs.

Weightlifting - Olympics: Day 7

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It is also recommended at the very least an individual should try to strength train three times a week. The difference in weight size is based on the notion of the frailty myth. It states that women’s bodies are not strong enough for physical activity. There are still myths that women should not train heavy, because they will get injured. Injury only happens when exercises are not done correctly or a person over trains. There should be consideration in the difference in tendon size, which may make women more susceptible to joint injuries. Women can handle a five pound weight whether it vibrating or not. You certainly do not need to be He-Man to use the five pound version. There is no such thing as men’s muscles and women’s muscles, because at the cellular level they do not differ. The design is awkward and the manner in which it is held. One problem is that users of this device did not go through the full range of motion when using it. The only way to see improvement is to challenge the muscle by adding more weight. Exercising for just six minutes will not produce effective results.

           The defenders of this product say that it can at least improve muscular endurance. This requires an increase in training frequency. That means adding more training sessions to your regimen. Simultaneously, training volume should be gradually increased. The number of sets and repetitions must increase for the body to adapt. Static contractions are also useful. This requires doing a full set of an exercise, then holding the in a fully contracted position. This should be done till the individual can no longer hold it. The Shake Weight cannot do any of these tasks. None of these exercises listed would be compatible with the Shake Weight.

The vibrations are not as powerful as straining against the weight of actual iron. Even if there were no vibrations the Shake Weight would be not even be useful for static contraction. There would have to be added weight to the device, but then it would just be a regular weight. Muscular endurance will not be attained through the use of the Shake Weight product.

       If one were to switch a person who exercises with weights and have them use the Shake Weight, they would lose strength. A woman who regularly exercises and then uses this device solely with see a dramatic reversal. Women could lose muscle in just a month, who are already at a higher fitness level. The advertisements use the term “dynamic inertia” to describe the process of the vibration movements. Anyone with a basic understanding of physics would realize inertia can occur during any form of exercise. Matter can continue in an existing state or follow a path of uniform motion until effected by another force. This is the definition of inertia. Dynamics is merely the analysis of forces and torques which is considered a branch of applied mathematics. Adding this term just glorifies the item being sold, making the consumer think it is doing something incredible.This why the knowledge of science, physiology, and anatomy are important. It prevents individuals from making poor decisions. If you are a person attempting to add mass this exercise equipment would not perform as well as free weights. A woman for example already trained would see a loss in results. Muscle atrophy only occurs when one stops an exercise regimen or ceases to challenge the muscles being worked.

         The American Council on Exercise did conduct a study. The alleged study that Fitness QI did never was peer reviewed in an academic journal or produced by an exercise physiologist or scientist. The study done by the University of Wisconsin by exercise scientists . They wanted to see the amount of muscle activation versus a traditional weight compared to the Shake Weight. The volunteers of the study were between the ages of 18 to 30, which included men and women. They continued to use the five pound for men and the two and a half pound versions for women. Electrodes were then placed on the biceps, triceps, deltoids, and pectoralis muscles.  The utilization of electromyography allowed the intensity of the work out to be recorded. The result was fascinating. The findings by Dr.  John Porcari and Dr. Jennah Hackbarth  were not what one would have expected. Muscle activity was greater 88% in the biceps, 65% greater in the triceps, 50% greater in the chest, and 59% greater in the chest. It would appear that the bicep curls, chest fly, tricep extensions, and shoulder presses are less efficient. This is not true. The physical fitness level of the individuals in the study was not recorded. They may have seen results only because they were at the very low spectrum of physical fitness. The study also found that it worked mostly the triceps rather than the entire arms or upper body.

 The thinner or non-exercising subject would probably benefit from the Shake Weight more than a physically fit woman. 

When conducting an experiment one should be careful when considering factors that effect results. The physical fitness level of the subjects is essential to the results. These individuals of the study were of course healthy, but not at a high spectrum pf physical fitness. There was a 66 % EMG increase, but this was not the increase that infomercials have said claiming a 300% increase. The vibrations from the Shake Weight may not even be safe. They work muscles, but could be causing unnecessary soreness.

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The results as shown in the graph are misleading. For a person who does no physical activity anything would induce improvement. Two or five pound weights are simply not heavy enough to cause significant muscular hypertrophy. Subjects of this study did not expect the device to be as exerting. The ratings for perceived exertion were higher for the Shake Weight than it was for traditional weights.

        After explaining the physiological and anatomical basis for the Shake Weight one reaches a conclusion. It is not a useful piece of exercise equipment. This will not target the arms and upper body, but forces the triceps to do more work. Muscle activation was limited in the biceps. The level of resistance is so minimal that a physically fit person would not see any gains in lean body tissue. This would give only diminutive improvements to a person who has never done exercise at all. There are limited benefits to the exercise movement. There are very few times when a shaking exercise is useful, compared to push-ups, sit-ups, and weight lifting. The Shake Weight is something that is a combination of false advertising and hyper-consumerist culture. There are some goals that cannot be achieved by simple short cuts. That means effort, which many people do not want to do. The reason this sells so well is due to the public’s ignorance, lack of consumer advocacy, and the manipulation of human psychology. If statements sound credible enough people will accept it even though it may be mendacious. As long as the consumer knows about basic exercise science, they can make better decisions. The Shake Weight is a product that a consumer should not buy.

Further Reading

Hackbarth, Jenneh. “Does the Mega-selling Shake Weight Live Up to the Hype?” ACE Fitness. American Council on Exercise, 7 Oct. 2012. Web. 18 Dec. 2016. <https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/2000/does-the-mega-selling-shake-weight-live-up-to-the&gt;.

Agondoni, Laura. “Can You Get Muscles With the Shake Weight?” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 15 July 2015. Web. 18 Dec. 2016. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/492363-how-long-does-it-take-to-get-muscles-with-the-shake-weight/&gt;.

Wood, Heather. “Does the Shake Weight Take Fat off Your Arms?” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 15 Apr. 2011. Web. 18 Dec. 2016. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/421688-does-the-shake-weight-take-fat-off-your-arms/&gt;.

The Shake Weight

A History of the Bikini

What started a simple swim wear became a type of clothing important to women’s sports. The Bikini is a two piece swimsuit for women that contains a top (bra)  and underwear that is cut below the navel. This type of clothing can range from different sizes being smaller (thong or G-string)  or a much larger model. The bikini at fist was not popular among women, but that later changed. As women entered into the sports world the bikini became a part of women’s sports wear. Sports such as volleyball, bodybuilding,  and even other athletics. The swimwear has become an icon unto itself. This type of clothing accentuates the female figure and in the beginning there was resistance from the more socially conservative elements of society. Combined with that backlash and the low popularity in the initial stages, it seemed as if the Bikini would disappear. The situation would reverse and now you can see women wearing bikinis on beaches or sporting events.

             The  modern bikini was developed  by Louis Reard (1897-1984).  He was by trade an automobile engineer and clothes designer. Reard was French, born in a period in which the nation was a colonial empire.   He took over his mother’s lingerie business in 1940. For that point he had to teach himself about designing clothes. One day going to St. Topaz he noticed women were attempting to get tans by rolling up the edges of their swimwear. Reard then got the idea that their should be a swim suit with the midriff exposed. There were other designers working on a swim suit similar to his. Jacques Heim produced what he called the “Atome” in 1946.  The name for the swim wear could have come from the South Pacific Bikini Atoll. There the US conducted tests for the first nuclear weapons. Using the name atome or bikini was a way of saying it was going to send shock waves. It appears there was not one creator. There were cases prior to 1946 in which had swimwear similar to the early bikini. There were two piece swim suits  that existed in classical antiquity.

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The new ‘Bikini’ swimming costume  Micheline Bernardini was the first to model in the modern bikini .
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Here Carrie Simmons poses in a bikini. Today bikini designs are more elaborate and colorful.

Some tile mosaics discovered from the period of Roman civilization show women wearing something similar to a bikini. At the very least these were two piece swim suits. If this early swim wear is to be counted as a bikini then it would technically be 1,7000 years old.  When examining the Villa Romana del Casale  it shows women exercising in what looks like bikinis. These mosaics are dated 300 AD. It was belived this was more comfortable exercising in than women’s standard wear during the classical period. At that time it did not cause a uproar. There are also archaeological finds in Anatolia ( modern Turkey) which show women in swim suits dated 5600 B.C.E  and also depict a mother goddess. Urns found from Greco-Roman civilization dated 1400 B.C.E also show women wearing bikini like garments. There is little information historians and archaeologist have on the opinions on the swim suits women wore. The level of acceptance or repudiation remains ambiguous given the limited information.  When the 20th century arrives then there was social resistance to the bikini . Religious groups and some feminist organizations. There were religious groups in the US who said it was immoral for a woman to display their body. Certain feminist organizations complained  that it objectified women. There were bikini contests that emerged and sometimes they were apart of beauty pageants. However, there were some cases in which beauty pageants banned the bikini. It was considered too lascivious for the more conservative public.

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Sales of the bikini performed better in France during the mid-20th century. It took the rest of the world awhile to catch up. The exposure of women’s navel caused controversy among some people. Modesty and the covering of the female body has been promoted in more conservative societies. The female body was either at times covered or confined under the supervision of male authority. The bikini for some women became a symbol of liberation from male control of their bodies. Kelly Bensimon  has said that it was a symbol of female expression. The former model and author of the Bikini Book  stated “it gave a lot of people confidence.” She describes the clothing’s appeal as “it celebrates all people athletes, models, dancers, and real people. Benismon says the bikini has stood the test of time mainly because it was associated with scandal. Gradually, society realized that there was nothing indecent about bikinis. It takes time for society to accept new ideas or things. Bikini23

When celebrities began wearing bikinis, it gained some acceptance. Actresses ad models began wearing them in glamour shots. This became common in the 1950s with movie stars such as Mirylin  Monroe and Ester Williams.  Celebrities like it or not are trend setters and continue to influence fashion styles. Celebrities had some freedom to navigate more strict social and cultural mores. The process was slow, but the bikini became more popular. Around the 1960s   the bikini sky rocketed in popularity among women. Mainly because certain bans on the swimwear were bring lifted. Italy, Portugal, Australia, and certain states in the US had either bans or certain restrictions directed at the bikini. The National League of Decency in the US was a culprit of not only banning clothing, but other forms of entertainment in their perspective was “profane.”   Groups like that could not survive the coming of the Sexual Revolution. The relations between the sexes changed, women were gaining reproductive rights,  and women found more liberation in having control of their sexual relationships. Sex was not seen as a negative thing or just for the sake of having children. It could be for the pleasure of both men and women. The result of this was that women’s bodies were no longer viewed as “indecent.” Women could wear what they wanted without causing a moral panic.

           Some have claimed that the evolution of swimwear correlated with women’s emancipation. The earlier swimwear was more confined and designed to restrict movement. This was common for women’s clothes throughout history, because it was once considered improper for women to be involved in physical activity. The rise of the sports bra for example was revolutionary, because it allowed women to compete in sports with comfort. Women with larger bust size may have been driven away from sport prior to its creation. The bikini made it so women became more confident in the display of their bodies. Oliver Saillard a history of fashion postulated the relation between the bikini and gender politics as this : “the power of women, not the power of fashion.” He delineates it as women imposing influence on something as a representation of women’s growing power in society. Women were no longer ashamed or afraid of their bodies. The bikini seemed to be a link in not just a political emancipation, but a social and cultural one. There is the counter argument that seeing as it was made by men, it is questionable whether or not it is liberating. Even with that fact  it seems women made the swimwear their own by becoming designers themselves and ushering in new styles.

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These are examples of swimwear from the late 19th century to early 20th century.
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The modern day bikini reveals more of the female figure.

The bikini would not just be worn by beach goers it would later find its way into women’s sports. This seemed like a natural progression, because women were entering the world of professional sports at the international and national level. It was clear that certain clothing would be brought with them.

The bikini also has been present in women’s sports. Beach volleyball, bodybuilding, and surfing. There some instances that track and field athletes have bikini bottoms. The most common association of the bikini with sport is with bodybuilding. Muscular women oil up and tan then pose in various contests. Female bodybuilding did evolve from bikini contests. These contests were more so modeled after beauty pageants because it did not emphasize muscle size, posing, shape, or definition. These were supplements to men’s events that rook place from the 1950s to mid-1970s. Women were entering sports in larger numbers during the early Title IX era and it was a matter of time that women demanded their own competitions. The Ms.Olympia contest (1980-2014) emerged and the National Amateur Bodybuilding Association (NBBA) allowed women to compete. There are some restrictions on what type of bikini can be worn. Women are forbidden to wear thongs or t back swimsuits in contests in America. The reason is that certain contests could be filmed for television and organizations rather not face an FCC fine. However, closed events allow it, because it will not be broadcast. Europe seems to be more liberal in this regard, while America is more conservative.

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Britt Miller poses in a thong. She could not get on stage with it if her contest she was in was being filmed for US television.
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Yeon’s bikini falls into proper regulations set by the IFBB.

Volleyball has made the bikini as its official uniform. It was 1994 that the bikini became the official uniform for the Women’s Olympic Volleyball team. Then in 1999 the International Volleyball Federation standardized it and made it a requirement for all women in volleyball. This does have some problems. Cold weather makes it uncomfortable for women to wear and women may object to the uniforms due to religious beliefs. There were changes in 2012 allowing shorts and sleeveless shirts. There a more criticisms about the bikini being the uniform. Some sports journalists say that it distracts attention away from the actual game and just puts emphasis on how attractive the women are, rather than their athletic talent.Feminists claim it objectifies athletes and diminishes the attention on their accomplishments. This may not be due to the clothing itself, but the institutional sexism that has been a part of sport since its birth. It is odd that some feminist critics never raise similar complaints about the bodybuilding sports. Although it appears athletes like the uniforms because it gives more free range in terms of movement , others experience discomfort. Chafing and constant fiddling with bikini bottoms can cause irritation.

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This problem can be solved by use of different fabrics  and adjusting the size of the bikini bottom itself. If the athletes enjoy using them as a uniform, they should remain. If it causes too much of a problem then women should bring it up as an issue. Gabrielle Reece had stated she was not content with the bikini uniform requirement, who preferred  her tights instead. Some athletes  believed that this was just done to make the uniforms look skimpier. The frustration can be understood, but other athletes in different sports have dissenting opinions. Female bodybuilders do embrace the scantily clad bikini and skimpy image, but present it in a radically different manner. They combined a new paradigm of beauty, while combining it with the older concepts of glamour. Added to that was power and grace of a posing routine. This made for a fascinating and eclectic mix of concepts.

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It is amazing to think that just a simple piece of clothing can cause such reactions. The bikini has been experimented with in track and field. Florence Griffith Joyner ushered in a style in which she used both bikini bottoms and one legged tights at the 1988 Olympics. It seemed as if Joyner got more attention for her clothing selection than her 200 meter event. There are some sports organizations that specifically ban the bikini bottom and demand athletes wear shorts instead. The West Asian Games implemented this policy in 2006. Running in a bikini top would be impractical, but the bikini bottom seems to make more sense. Shorts or long pants may cause more pressure added to wind resistance when running at high speeds. A study on this subject has not been conducted, but it is a possibility. The bikini is also a common form of sports wear in surfing. Sometimes women who compete in surfing also participate in bikini contests. There is controversy in this seeing as usually more money is offered for the bikini contest.

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 The bikini caused controversy with the general public and even in the sports world. Prior to the introduction in the sports arena, it was not seen as acceptable. Sports Illustrated changed this by featuring women in bikinis on its front cover 1964. Now, they have issues devoted to women in swim wear. The bikini later became the most popular piece of swim wear not just in the West, but globally.

         The 1960s and 1970s saw the bikini rise in popularity. With a golden age comes a decline. The bikini lost popularity in the 1980s. It’s original developer Reard died during that time and his company closed a couple of years after his death. Around the early 21st century there was a spike in sales again. The market was mostly teenage women and women over the age of 30. The sudden resurrection could be attributed to baby boomers increased interest in fitness. The desire to recapture youth  and improve their appearance. Baby boomers were thinking  that age was just a number. There was also a negative side to this. The concern was that the obsession with the bikini body would take a toll on women’s mental and physical health. Eating disorders or mental distress from body image was a problem growing among many young women. The bikini cannot be completely to blame for these developments. A conjecture could be that it was the product of a neoliberal capitalist consumer culture. It functions on people’s insecurities attempting to keep the public constantly buying products. Whatever  the root of the problem could be, the solution is not a simple one. The modern bikini has lasted some 70 years. Currently there are various types to choose from : sling bikini, string bikini, micro bikini, skirtiki,  bandeaukini, monokini, tankini, and trikini.

Further Reading

Westcott, Kathryn. “BBC NEWS | In Depth | The Bikini: Not a Brief Affair.”BBC News. BBC, 05 July 2006. Web. 23 June 2016. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/5130460.stm&gt;.

“Bikini.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 June 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikini#cite_note-193&gt;.

Moos, Jeanne. “STYLE Bikini Blues — Beach Volleyball Makes the Swimsuit Standard.” CNN. Cable News Network, 13 Jan. 1999. Web. 23 June 2016. <http://www.cnn.com/STYLE/9901/13/vollyball.bikini/&gt;.

A History of the Bikini

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which bones become brittle and weaken. Through out the human life cycle bones are remolded. From childhood from adulthood bone mass increases, but as humans age it will decrease. Both men and women can get osteoporosis, but it has a more dramatic effect on women. The reasons for this are related to biological  sex differences. Sex hormones play a vital role in bone health. There are also other factors that contribute to being at risk. The exact cause of the disease is not known, but there are some attributes of the known about the disease that can treat it.Having some understanding of the skeletal system can contribute to prevention. Humans may be susceptible to osteoporosis, because unlike other primates in the animal kingdom our bones are more porous. Bipedalism came with a price. Walking upright gave humans an advantage in evolutionary history, but meant we would have more back, foot, and skeletal problems. Certain measures can be taken to prevent osteoporosis. This is very important for women considering they live longer. Bone health becomes more critical as people reach advanced age.

        The human skeleton is composed of 206 bones. Along with the muscles, they contribute to the locomotion of the body. Muscles contract moving bones. The bones store calcium an element required for muscle contraction as well. Bone marrow produces red and white blood cells. It also has the function of producing the platelets. Bones are placed in different categories. Cortical bones include leg and arm bones that can hold and support  weight. Compact bones such as the skull and hip are stacked for fortitude. Trabecular bones which are the vertebrae of the spine act a network pathway for nerves of the body. ligaments attach bones to other bones and are flexible in structure. Cartilage is another type of tissue present in the skeletal system providing support to joints. Men and women have the same bones, but there are structural differences. Men have denser bones and broader shoulders. Women have wider hips and less bone total bone mass. This also explains why on average men  are stronger. Muscle fibers need skeletal support for motion and the bone mass contributes to total body force. Between the ages 1 to 13 bone mass and muscle composition is equal among boys and girls. When puberty occurs, testosterone causes muscular hypertrophy and a increase in bone mass in boys. Skeletal mass continues to increase in both sexes between the ages of 20 to 30. The rate of bone formation is greater in youth. Around the ages 40 to 50 their is an equal rate of bone breakdown. Formation does not occur at the same rate at the time of youth. Bone mass will decrease due to a higher rate of reabsorption.

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Women have less bone mass as compared to men. Peak bone mass for women only reaches an estimate of 1000g as compared men’s 1500g.

   The formation rate cannot keep up with the loss that is occurring with age. The reason for the disparity is that men have a larger amount of bone mass. Men can lose up to 25 % of their bone mass while women can lose 35%. The skeletal system just like other organ systems can develop health issues.

         Endocrinology explains the reason for women’s higher rate of osteoporosis. Sex hormones promote bone strength through out life. When testosterone and estrogen levels decline problems arise. Men’s testosterone levels decline slower and by age 65 drop significantly. Women’s estrogen levels start to decline as early as age 45. This means women are at greater risk for fractures in the cortical bones, pelvis, and hip vertebrae. This is a disease that happens when people age, which explains why it is rare to see younger people with it. Children still need regular exercise to build up as much bone mass as possible to prevent this disease.Even though men are at a lower risk, it is still something to be conscious of. It is possible for menopause to cause some level of bone loss.After menopause resorption occurs faster than bone production. Women can experience this with early menopause or infrequent menstrual periods. It can also happen if women’s estrogen levels get extremely low.

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 Hormone replacement therapy has been recommended for women who have less than average bone mass , early menopause, or a genetic history of the disease in their family. Hormone replacement therapy has risks of its own and that is why prevention is normally favored.

        There are methods that can be utilized to prevent osteoporosis. Getting adequate calcium in your diet can help. The U.S. National Institutes of Health recommends 1,500 mg during puberty  The amount for adults is projected at 1000 mg. Past the age of 65 the intake should be about 1,500 mg. Vitamin D is also an essential part of bone health. Sunlight is important to this process, because it synthesizes a precursor to vitamin D. Calcium is important to a person’s diet and can be found in dairy products. People who have lactose intolerance consuming leafy green vegetables , broccoli, and salmon. These foods contain high amounts of calcium and aid in other nutritional needs. Yogurt or cheese can be an option if digesting milk is too much of an issue. Lactose free dairy products are also available as an option.

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Fresh air is good for you in more ways than one. Some areas during winter do not have enough sunlight so it would be difficult for the body to produce vitamin D. The woman here would have no trouble producing vitamin D here, because she is on a sunny beach.

 People who live in the global North and experience long overcast winters should be conscious of their vitamin D levels. Milk ( low fat ) and cereal contain vitamin D, which can make up for the lack of sunlight. Other supplements and medicines are more helpful. Diet is important, but exercise is also required as a prevention measure. Moderate activity can build bone mass. Inactivity causes problems for the body. Inactive individuals who are confined to bed can lose up to 25 times more bone mass compared to active people. The body is designed for physical work and use. Not using it causes decline. Muscles atrophy if not used or exercised. The skeleton which is just as pivotal will also struggle to perform formation of new bone. When people reach adulthood the skeleton will constantly be broken down by osteoclasts  and rebuilt by osteocytes. Old bone matter is replaced by new bone through a remodeling.

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Being confined to a bed or inactive for long periods of time causes a person to lose skeletal mass. This is a concern for patients in a hospital. Muscle mass can be lost from inactivity.

The exercises that promote optimum bone health  are weightlifting, walking, or jogging. lifting weights does not only build muscles it can reinforce bone. Being active in youth can prevent bone mass decrease. Doing this also provides other health benefits. It can manage weight  and maintain a healthy circulatory system.  To understand the nature of how delicate the skeletal system is, the bone growth process needs to be examined. A majority of bones are made of cartilage during the prenatal development. The cartilage structures are formed into bones by calcium salts stored in a matrix. Osteoblasts are the cells responsible for bone formation. This causes endochondral   ossification, which means replacement bone will be formed in the body.  The rate of growth is controlled by sex hormones and growth hormones. Growth plates are located between the primary ossification center and each secondary center area. These centers at one point will fuse and the skeleton will reach full growth.

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Osteoclasts  deposit calcium in the blood. Their role in maintaining calcium levels contributes to the homeostasis of the skeletal organ system. Osteoblasts must replace the retired cells. They take calcium from the blood to form new bone matter. The cells get caught in the matrix and form osteocytes.  The human body is a hard working organic  machine.

      Although osteoporosis can strike many individuals, certain groups  are at risk. Individuals who have a slender body type are  at risk. The ectomorphic body types are ones that contain low levels of bone mass. Having less body mass means the skeleton can be weakened more from the disease. Fractures are a major concern for people with osteoporosis. For thin boned people it could be more devastating.People erroneously associate thinness with health, but that in this case is not truthful. Being white or Asian can mean that getting the disease is more likely. This does not mean every person of that race will get it. The likelihood just increases due to genetic traits among  these groups. Family history plays a role in the risk factors for osteoporosis. Genes allow you to inherit various traits and this can apply to predisposition to certain diseases.

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Although Tomoko is Asian that does not mean she would get osteoporosis. Doing the proper health procedures can prevent various diseases.

 oddly enough being a smoker can also contribute to increased risk factors. It is well known that smoking can cause harm to the lungs and respiratory system, but it has the ability to increase the chances for osteoporosis.  Alcohol and high caffeine consumption can also be risk factors. Smoking and drinking do not only harm one organ system; many can be effected by excess consumption. Alcohol can damage the liver and effect the health of your skeleton later in life. Taking note of these risk factors can allow individuals to control their biomedical condition.

          Measuring bone density is a method of detecting if osteoporosis is present. One method is the dual  energy X-ray  absorptiometry.  Bone density is measured by the amount of photons absorbed by the bone from an X-ray tube. Blood and urine tests are conducted to examine the biochemical nature of the subjects bone. If a marker appears that indicates the bones are too thin a physician will recommend treatment. Hormone therapy is one suggested treatment. The use of black cohosh or phytoestrogen, which is estrogen produced by a plant. Calcitonin  can be utilized, which can inhibit the osteoclasts. Preventing the osteoclasts from breaking down too much bone and allow for more to be restored. Alendronate therapy acts in a similar fashion. It attempts to build bone to prevent further fractures. Three years of this treatment has shown that spinal density can increase about 8% and hip density about 7%.  These are older treatments and biomedical science continues to advance rapidly. Knowing  the nature of the skeleton and its disease can stop possible health issues.

Further Reading

Mader, Syvia. Biology. New York: McGraw Hill, 2007.

“Menopause & Osteoporosis.” Cleveland Clinic. N.p., 8 Aug. 2015. Web. 5 May 2016. <http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic-what-is-perimenopause-menopause-postmenopause/hic_Menopause_and_Osteoporosis&gt;.

Osteoporosis