Women Resilient To Extreme Physical Activity Than Previously Reported

Women Resilient To Extreme Physical Activity

A study conducted by the Society for Endocrinology wanted to see if women can be resilient  to extreme physical activity. Women underwent extreme physical training to increase their fitness. The women then went on a transantartic expedition. To the surprise of experimenters, women did not display anymore negative effects compared to men. What this means is that women given the proper training can handle extreme physical activity. This should not be a shock to people who understand basic biology. The issue seems to be that the frailty myth remains present in many studies regarding exercise physiology and endocrinology. The result regarding women being as resilient as men should not come as a startling revelation. The problem is that women have been cast as biological inferiors.  Obviously not the weaker sex, but it should be realized that the physical fitness capacity differs among the sexes based on anatomy and physiology. This means that a woman will have a harder time reaching a particular physical fitness level . The element of endurance and the difference between the sexes still remains misunderstood. These findings were presented at the annual Society for Endocrinology conference. It was conducted by the University of Edinburgh  and the  Royal Centre for Defense.

          There has been the notion that the female reproductive system and stress hormone response is more sensitive to arduous physical activity. Some studies also indicated that extreme physical activity can interrupt normal female reproductive function, impair bone strength, and elevate stress hormone levels higher than normal in women. To test possible negative effects of extreme endurance exercise Dr. Robert Gifford selected six women for a transantartic expedition. This sample was small, yet it did not indicate their fitness level prior to the training given. A woman with a higher fitness level or more experience with physical activity would have more advantage compared to an average woman. The fittest would most likely perform better.

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The performance of these two women would differ in relation to fitness level. 

Several markers of health were monitored for the expedition. Body weight, bone strength, metabolism, and the hormone function of the reproductive system. The heath markers were not only preserved, but revealed that the exercise regimen contributed to the success. The six subject were involved in a fitness regimen two weeks before the expedition. Dr .Gifford proclaimed : “we have shown that with appropriate training and preparation, many of the previously reported negative health effects can be avoided.” Dr. Robert Gifford stated that this data could put to rest myth regarding women and extreme activity. Although, there are some elements of the experiment that should be questioned. Training obviously made a difference. The length of the expedition could have an impact on health. Longer expeditions may show that women’s health makers may decline faster than her male counterpart.

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Race would not be a factor in this study. Biologically, race does not exist. Populations vary in genetics, but there is only one species of homo sapiens.  

The report also mentions it was not able to account for other factors such as age and ethnicity. Based on what is known, predictions could be made. Age can impact fitness with changes in metabolism and changes in the musculsoskeletal structure. As people age, they lose bone and muscle mass. When a person reaches their mid-twenties their muscles reach their natural full growth. Around age 25 most people have reached their full bone mass and height. This primarily would be males who are slower to grow than females, who reach their full hieght by age 18. The age of physical fitness peak for athletes could be around age 30 and performance gradually declines from that point. This means an older person would not be as fast or as strong in their youth.  It is also odd that some would think race  or ethnicity would have an effect on results. Skin color is the product of melanin. To say that one race or ethnicity would handle this better would be ludicrous. Certain populations used to cold climates may be more adaptable to a transantartic expedition. This is related to environment rather than race. Race would not impact performance,but age would. Hormones play a major role in fitness and they tell a lot about how women manage under extreme physical activity.

            Sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen have an impact on fitness levels. While estrogen can have a positive effect on bone density relative to bone mineralization, it add more fat tissue to the female body. Subcutaneous fat does not have an athletic benefit, yet the difference in body composition could be useful in a cold environment. This means women would be better at maintaining  body heat  in the Antarctic. Muscle is not a big insulator of heat.

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Given the same training regimen, men normally gain more strength and speed depending on genetics, health condition, and somatotype. A muscular woman still carries more fat compared to a muscular man. 

This is an instance in which body composition and fat percentage could work to women’s advantage. Muscle fiber type also would be helpful if this is a test of endurance. Women tend to have more type I muscle fiber. Type I muscle fiber is essential for endurance based physical activities. Men have more type II muscle fibers and a body with denser bones. One factor that is important strength is the presence of  free testosterone. Prior to puberty, there is limited difference in physical fitness capacity between boys and girls. Growth hormone causes an increase in body size for both sexes, but the sex hormones are adjusting the body for sexual reproduction.

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Exercise physiology has now taken an interest in studying improved sports performance techniques in women. 

The growth of the testicles allows for higher testosterone production in males inducing strength spurts. Lutienizing and follicle producing hormone work on a feedback loop n relation to sex hormones. Males have two growth spurts. The second one occurs two years after puberty. Between this period the strength spurt occurs increasing total muscle mass, while shoulder length increases. Puberty does not increase a woman’s fitness optimum. Therefore, training must be adjusted to take note of the differences in endocrinology. Women who participate in athletics could be susceptible to certain injuries. Looser joints, lighter bone density, and changes in hormones can effect the body. The female athlete could be vulnerable to ammenorrhea if her body fat levels get too low. ACL tears can be a serious risk. Menstruation, pregnancy,  or sudden hormonal changes can effect the female body that would not occur in men.  Despite these differences and sex specific issues women can attain a high level of fitness.  Men have more musculoskeletal mass which allows their bodies to sustain more strain and physical  trauma. Women, far from being delicate flowers can benefit immensely from training. However, the higher the physical intensity, the more women may struggle .  As Dr. Gifford articulated “If an appropriate training and nutritional regime is followed, their health may be protected.”

           The human body reacts to extreme temperatures. Depending on environment, men and women’s resilience would differ in this regard. Shivering and perspiration are reactions to either  warmth or cold.  Hyothermia can happen when if core temperature goes below 95 degrees fahrenheit. The body’s core temperature functions at a range between 97. 7 to 99.5 degrees fahrenheit. The body requires thermoregulation to maintain adequate metabolism and homeostasis. Antarctica is the only continent not inhabited by human beings due to its extreme cold weather.

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Antarctica would be a difficult place to establish human civilization. Climate change may alter this, however the gradual decrease in the polar ice caps would cause sea levels to rise. 

There are a number of  dangerous changes that can happen to the body under extreme cold. Hypothermia begins, while simultaneously breathing rate slows down. The heart rate may increase and arrhythmia starts. Tissues of the body cannot handle dramatically low temperatures resulting in frostbite. Core organs will shutdown.Such changes may cause confusion to such a great extent some people may irrationally remove their clothing. This odd phenomenon is known as paradoxical undressing. The brain becomes the last organ to function and if these conditions are not addressed death is the result. Going on long Antarctic expeditions would take a level of endurance and strength to handle extreme weather conditions. Some question why bother to explore this part of the Earth. The reason to do so may serve as a training ground for exploration of other planets in the distant future. Although spacecraft needs to advance, mastering difficult environments on Earth would serve as practice in settling outer space. This study has more applications than just examining endurance.

        The findings of this study could be useful to designing training programs for women entering physically demanding occupations. Firefighting, law enforcement, sports, construction, the military, and space exploration are fields that will see an increase in female workers. There is a misconception that men are just tougher and physically superior to women and therefore would be naturally better at such occupations. Sexism and pseudoscience still contribute to a large amount of gender bias, which women have to overcome when entering these careers.

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Women have taken interest in law enforcement and the military, thought to be a male only job. 

These occupations require a physical fitness test that many women struggle to meet. Understanding women’s physiological and physical capabilities can contribute to increasing numbers and extending careers in such fields. Dr. Gifford explained the relevance as follows :  “these findings could have important relevance for men and women in arduous or stressful employment, where there is concern that they are damaging their health.” Seeing as these jobs demand high amounts of physical activity, there can be an attrition rate. Injuries or declining health can cause a employee shortage or an increase in medical expenses for  the place of employment. Preventing future and on the job health concerns or accidents is essential to efficiency and success.

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Women are doing jobs that were thought to be too dangerous for them. The notion that there are some jobs women should not do must be discarded. 

There seems to be a level of disbelief about women’s capabilities are. Questions still remain for this study. The team at the University of Edinburgh want to investigate further by seeing which specific fitness regimens work better. Doing so would reveal how it would effect stress and energy balance in the body under extreme physical exertion. The motivation for the Royal Centre for Defense may have a military application. Women are allowed in the United Kingdom to serve in combat roles and integration of women into the occupation is a goal. Training women to meet the physical demands requires a different approach.  Exercise and nutrition can negate some aspects of sexual dimorphism, yet it does not eliminate them completely. Men still have more absolute physical strength and aerobic capacity. However, women could possibly have an endurance advantage, which as not been fully researched. If confirmed through rigorous experimentation, this could lead to effective fitness programs for women.

 

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Women Resilient To Extreme Physical Activity Than Previously Reported

CNN: Can Sex Be A Workout ?

Can sex be a workout?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CNN: Can Sex Be A Workout ?

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

Hand grip and the prediction of cardiovascular disease

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lifting Revolution: Ten Reasons Why Your Husband Will Always Be Stronger and Faster Than You

Why Your Husband is Stronger

Lifting Revolution is a website by Lindal Boyle who is a figure competitor and personal trainer. Lifting Revolution encourages a healthy life style and promotes physical fitness for women. Now that women have entered the fitness and sports world in greater numbers, they need information specific to their bodies and training. A positive element about this movement is that it has improved women’s health both mentally and physically. There are some other social aspects as well. Women with highly active lifestyles will likely marry men with similar  tastes for physical contests. Women who compete in any sport are very competitive. Some even are competitive with their significant others. While women are becoming competitive in the sciences, law, politics, and business there remains one area men still dominate. Physical strength and speed men have more of an advantage. This is not an indication of biological superiority, rather the result of millions of years of evolution. Bolye states that “doesn’t that headline just irk you?”  in the first line of the article. Oddly, she then replies ” it certainly does me. ”  A simple statement of biological fact should not cause irritation. This is not ” sadly the truth.” Men and women have different levels of physical fitness capacity. Women who workout with their husbands seem to either get frustrated or jealous of their husband’s fitness progress. There should be no reason to get vexed at this. Sameness  feminism has been at war with science that is common accepted fact. Some women have unfortunately adopted the idea in order to be equal to men, they must be similar to them. This distortion can cause many problems. Husbands and wives should not be making working out a competition, rather a fun activity. Women seeking to outperform physically fit men will find themselves in a losing battle. There are ten major reason why if your husband trains like a serious athlete his physical fitness capacity would be higher.

        The new era of women’s freedom has given them more confidence. This is important that women have self-esteem. However, this drive of sameness feminism seeks to compete with men for the sake of competing with men. The girl power concept chants phrases “I can do anything a man can do” or ” the future is female.” It wants to promote the image that every woman can be strong, intelligent, and excel at anything. Women have different strengths and talents, but every woman is not a superwoman. Some women who are competitive in the athletic and fitness fields may overestimate their physical abilities. Raised in this girl power mindset, they may challenge a man in a physical contest thinking that physiology and biology are not a factor. Some even think they can beat any man. Sports data and performance shows otherwise. Women who actually decide to compete with a man of equal training either come to a dramatic realization of their capabilities or become vexed that there is a difference.

The anger comes at the idea that somehow nature made a mistake. Why does man have so much physical power, while women have to work harder to gain it? This was due to evolutionary biology and the possibility that greater male strength was designed for men competing with other men for mates. Greater physical fitness capacity may have also contributed to hunting wildlife for sustenance. Sex differences should not be viewed by women as a curse or a hindrance to their sports endeavors. Women’s sports performance may not be equal to men’s in certain physical markers, but this does not mean the are less than capable athletes. The reason weight classes are present in sports is to have a level playing field. If there were not in particular sports only the largest men would dominate. Women seeing as the weigh less and are smaller than men, having separate divisions for them is nothing more a specialized weight class that takes into account biological and physiological considerations. There have been claims that women’s divisions constitute sex segregation. Such an accusation lacks credibility due to two critical points. The divisions are designed to allow for fair contest based on size of opponents. If men are on average larger than women, this would put women at a disadvantage. Women are not barred from competing on men’s teams. There are cases in which women have competed on men’s teams. Eri Yoshida is a baseball player that has pitched for various teams.

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She was the first woman to be drafted for a men’s professional baseball team. She has even pitched for teams in the United States. There is no ban against women playing on men’s baseball teams. So having women’s divisions in sports does not constitute segregation like a system akin to Apartheid or Jim Crow laws. Women should not take the difference in sports performance as being doomed to be second rate. It is more so a testament to how amazing the female body is. Women have less natural strength, but through training, diet, and dedication reach a higher fitness level compared to their starting point. There must be a repudiation of the battle of the sexes mindset. A female athlete should not have to compare her performance to a man’s just for a sense of worth or validation. It is ludicrous to get upset that reaching fitness goals or sports targets takes longer for women. Women have to train harder to reach a certain level, yet this demonstrates what diligence and determination can do.  Sports and fitness are more than just strength and speed; meticulous skill is required to excel at any sport.

      Muscular strength  is important for athletic contests. Men have more muscle compared to women. Even women with mesomorphic body types do not match the amount of musculature as a male. Men experience a higher degree of muscular hypertrophy through weight training. There is no difference in muscle cells between men and women. Women can experience muscular hypertrophy, yet this does not mean they will grow to the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The largest female bodybuilders barely weigh as much as they appear. Iris Kyle  multiple Ms.Olympia champion,  during her competitions weighed 165 lbs while male bodybuilders reach the 200 lbs mark. Phil Heath the current Mr. Olympia weighs 240 lbs during competition. This gives an estimate of strength levels depending on fitness level.A woman who trains seriously can reach  or surpass the strength level of an average male.

When it comes to pure brute strength type II muscle fibers are the most important. These muscle fibers are responsible for explosive bursts of force. Simply having more muscle does not make a person stronger. It depends on the ratio of fast twitch type II muscle fibers . Normally, achieving a high amount of strength requires lifting heavy to induce microtrauma  in the muscle. During the process of muscular hypertrophy, it rebuilds itself. Ligaments, tendons, and the skeletal structure also contribute to body strength. It is not solely muscle. Bone density also makes a huge difference. Muscles are attached to bones through tendons. This is for the sake of handling tension and force. Ligaments are similar to tendons, but are different in the sense that they are designed to attach bone to bone.Women’s bones have less density and have smaller skeletal structures. If women were to each the highest male level of strength it would require the increase in skeletal structure. The skeleton has to be big enough to support large muscles. Women ligaments also differ in size and the tendons as well. Looser joints means women could be more susceptible to particular injuries like ACL tears.

Sex is not the sole factor in physical strength, but it is a significant one. Myostatin also plays a large role in how much muscle a person can gain . The regulates muscular hypertrophy. A woman with low myostatin levels would have greater potential in terms of muscular gain.  Women retain higher fat levels no matter what somatotype. The most muscular or the slimmest woman would still have a higher fat percentage. The reason the female body does this is for the sake of ovulation. If a woman’s body fat levels get to low, a female athlete could risk of amenorrhea. This condition is the absence of menstruation. Fat is normally seen as a hindrance in athletic performance, however it may give women an advantage in ultra-marathon events. Running faster to meet men’s speeds would be difficult, yet the longer the race, endurance becomes more critical. A woman’s body contains an estimated 27% fat compared to the male estimate of 15%. Muscle fiber type, musculoskeletal mass, genetics, age, and sex contribute to physical strength.Body composition and muscle mass are major factors in physical fitness capacity.

         Women have smaller hearts and lungs  compared to men. What this means is that men with larger hearts are able to pump more blood. This is estimated at 16% liters  of blood per heartbeat more compared to women.  Although women can increase their running speed, training does not increase female organ size. The more blood pump the more oxygen can be utilized for the muscle tissue. This is a vital source of energy. Larger lungs also men that men can absorb more oxygen close to 30% more than women. This explains why the author Kindal’s brother who smokes cigarettes can outrun her in a 100 meter sprint. The sheer difference in lung and heart size provides a physical advantage for men. There should be a correction noted in the article. According to some exercise physiology studies, women may actually recover better from a weight training regimen. Red blood cell count is important, yet there is still more to learn about differences in recovery from training. Red blood cells do not only carry oxygenated blood to muscles, but to other tissues This is a major factor in exercise and competition. The anatomical structures of the circulatory and respiratory system do not differ vastly between men in women.

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Training does not increase organ size in relation to the heart and lungs. Muscle tissue growth functions on a different method and physiology. Knowing this about the importance of organ size it is possible for a larger woman to run faster than a smaller man. The cardiovascular system is a network of  arteries and veins transporting blood through the human body. Blood is considered an organ, although it is in liquid form. It must carry oxygen, while simultaneously removing waste products. An artery by definition is the muscular walled tubes of the body which transport mostly oxygenated blood to other sections of  an organism.  Veins refer to the anatomical structures which are blood vessels that carry oxygen back to the heart.

Circulatory system

The heart is an organ that is center of the circulatory system. The respiratory system has the responsibility of  taking oxygen into the body and removing carbon dioxide from it. When oxygen is taken by the blood carbon dioxide will be released. The lungs are the major organ of the respiratory system involved in the physiology of gas exchange. The throat and nose take in air. The trachea a windpipe pathway to the lungs splits into bronchi. Athletic and physical fitness capacity is dependent on the muscular, circulatory, and respiratory system. It also must be realized that the nervous system also contributes to athletic performance. Without the nervous system both voluntary and involuntary movements would not be possible. The nervous system effects all other organ systems. When physical activity is happening the circulatory and respiratory system collaborate with one another.

              Structurally, male and female bodies differ. Women have a wider pelvis to accommodate childbirth. The shape of the hips and pelvis means that women’s femurs are placed in a different angle. This is referred sometimes as a q-angle. This effects running speed in terms of biomechanical efficiency. The angle does not contribute to running speed. So even if women could match a man in muscular mass in the legs, the pelvis and q-angle of the legs would effect running speed.

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The quadriceps angle

 Front view of female pelvic anatomy

The quadriceps angle has a larger arc  estimated at 18 degrees. This adds another challenge. There is more pressure on women’s lower bodies. Women could get more sore from running compared to a man with limited pressure on his lower body.  One difference that is over looked is women’s shorter strides. Men are on average taller than women, which means they have longer strides. This means when even walking fast a man can cover more ground. Recent studies suggest that women may have an advantage in ultramarathon events. While the strength gap is larger, endurance becomes key the longer the running distance. There still needs to be more investigation, but if this proves correct it will demonstrate that women also have physical advantages.

        Endocrinology also has a role in physical fitness capacity. Men produce more testosterone which aids in a greater extent of protein synthesis. This also leads to men’s greater levels of muscular hypertrophy through training. Boys are not born physically stronger than girls. Prior to puberty, there is little strength difference between the sexes. Girls actually mature faster physically, growing taller. However, hormones act differently for males and females. Women do produce lower levels of testosterone, but the primary sex hormone in the female body is estrogen and progesterone. As a girl’s body transforms into an adult woman the menstrual cycle begins. A certain level of fat is needed for ovulation. Simultaneously, women reach their maximum height sooner. Boys may grow slower, but at the end of the Tanner stages have more height. The boy’s body goes through strength spurts. The growth of the gonads induces strength spurts that occur in males during puberty. Women do not gain strength spurts from their endocrionological changes. During men’s strength spurt the chest and shoulders will broaden. The trunk of the male body also becomes more pronounced.  Added muscle mass and bone density increases male physical optimum. Women will not gain advantages in terms of the change. Testosterone does have benefit to physical fitness capacity. This explains why a female athlete who uses anabolic steroids can see dramatic results with a minimal dosage. Steroids are synthetic deviates of testosterone.

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Standing long jump performance based on sex and age. The gap becomes more pronounced around the age of 16 when males are going through their strength spurt.

   Growth hormone makes the body grow for both men and women. The best period for muscle growth is between the ages 15 and 25. After age 25 muscle mass gradually declines in adults.Hormones also effect behavior. It cannot be ignored that men’s higher testosterone levels may have a correlation to competitiveness. Sports by nature are very competitive, which may explain why men are more drawn to such activities. Endocrinology or biology cannot provide an answer to why there are more men in sports. It must be realized that women are either discouraged or at times excluded from certain areas of the sports world. Saying that it is merely the endocrine system and the psychological effects of it is not enough to tell the story of the sociological implications. Men may be encouraged not to be more competitive, rather take dangerous risks. Both biology and sociology can explain why men seek more adventure and peril. While this provides for a life rich in experience, it also means a shorter one. Men are more likely to die from high risk behaviors. The endocrine system does not only effect the organs of the body, but behavior as well.

             Perspiration serves to cool off the human body when exerted and in an environment of high temperature. Surprisingly, women and men cool off differently. Women under intense exertion do not cool off as efficiently. This makes maintaining energy more of a challenge. Studies show that women respond differently to heat. However, there is also evidence that how body responds to heat may be independent of biological sex. It is possible that people with smaller body size reduce heat by increasing blood circulation in the body. Larger people may be more reliant on perspiration to reduce heat.

sweaty-woman-workout-clothes_2.jpgsweaty-woman-workout-clothes_2_0 What can be extrapolated from various studies is that women, being smaller would be more reliant on increased blood circulation. If such a theory is correct about body size correlation, then that mean female runners would have to adjust their training method. Understanding the biological and physical differences allows for a fitness program that can be tailored specifically for a woman’s physiology.  Under mild heat conditions thirst increases to replace the water lost in sweat. Glands that are on the skin secrete sweat and the liquid will evaporate there by cooling the body’s surface. The blood vessels of the skin dilate, which increases blood flow. This gives the appearance of the skin look red ( sometimes referred to as “flushed” ) . Dealing with temperature changes in the body and environment is a factor that an athlete has to consider when in competition.

         Athletic competition is not solely about the physical prowess or skill; there is a mental element. The desire and motivation to compete and remain consistent with plans takes an immense amount of mental strength. There may be points in which frustration and lack of enthusiasm may hinder an athlete’s involvement and performance. Injuries or a series of major losses can have a psychological effect. One of the reasons sports psychology has grown is to teach athletes coping mechanisms for setbacks or to aid in rehabilitation from injuries. Keeping the competitive spirit and having team building strategies makes a difference in performance. Women have to unlearn certain behaviors that were taught to them at a young age. It has changed to a degree, but girls are not raised to be competitive. Girls are not taught to be confident in their abilities or to have high self-esteem. Even women who reach the apex of their field may still have feelings of self doubt. The only way for a woman to overcome this is to relinquish the restrictive and self imposed behavior taught in accordance with cultural gender roles. The traditional view is that women should not be ambitious, competitive, or assert themselves. These are dated notions, but they still persist in society. The mental gap can be fully closed with the female athlete. This can only happen with building enough confidence and reducing the fear of risk.

        A common error is to assume that men are the better athletes based on sex differences. This is incorrect for the following reasons. For a longtime women were cast as biological inferiors. This was not true as exercise physiology demonstrates. Women with training can see improvement in their physical fitness capacity. The challenge is having more studies that are focused on women’s athletic performance. A majority of exercise physiology research focuses mostly on male athletes. This means women are not given the best information on how to train based on their anatomical and biological structure. There has been change, but it will take time to redress particular disparities. Women were excluded from a multitude of professional sports. Only in recent decades have their numbers been growing. An examination of sports performances shows that women’s records have improved compared to their predecessors of the 20th century. The performance gap may not close between men and women, but it may get smaller. Women’s performance is based  relative to their size. One would not call a smaller man an inferior athlete. The image of women being less capable in sports has been part of its long misogynistic history. However, women have shown that they are not only capable they can be entertaining.

It simply makes no sense for a woman to vexed that her husband progresses faster in an exercises regimen. This is why there are weight classes in particular sports to allows for people of various sizes to compete. Otherwise only the largest people would dominate sports. Women should not compare themselves with men, rather focus on reaching there own goals. There may be frustration that it takes longer to see the fruits of one’s labor, but that makes the accomplishment more gratifying. While Kindal Boyle states ” sadly ladies here’s the truth” in regards to physical differences there should be a reminder of the growing presence of  strong women. The female body is remarkable in the fact that it is capable of birth and athletic feats that centuries ago many would have thought impossible. It was thought that pregnancy would hinder women’s athletic performance and that women could not regain performance prior to gestation. That has been discredited. Although women will have a harder time reaching a particular fitness level, women make significant progress compared to starting point. Considering the fitness level, size,  or genetics of a woman’s husband it is possible that she may end up stronger.There is one way in which women have more strength than men. Longevity women surpass men on average. Instead of competing with each other exercise regimens should be done for fun and improvement of health. Couples can benefit by be aware of each others health.

 

 

Lifting Revolution: Ten Reasons Why Your Husband Will Always Be Stronger and Faster Than You

The Biomechanics of Women in Combat

The Biomechanics of Women in Combat

Dr. Pamela McCauley is a biomechanics and ergonomics expert who is also professor and director of the Ergonomics Laboratory in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems at the University of Central Florida.She applies her knowledge to the question of women in combat. If it is known that women are physiologically, anatomically, and biologically different this means training will have to be adjusted. She approaches the problem from a biomechanics and physical fitness perspective. Ergonomics also serves a use from preventing long term injuries or medical discharges from the US military. Combat position ban were lifted, which means women can serve in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. Physically demanding jobs may be harder for women who on average have less physical strength and speed. This fitness requirements can be met, without lowering standards. However, gender parity in all branches may not be possible. This text was originally published in 2014, a year after the ban was lifted on women in combat. The US military was using the physical readiness test. Currently there is a shift to make the physical fitness testing be more relevant to the military occupation specialties. Dr. Mccauley’s assessments are mostly correct, but there may be some jobs that women would struggle to get because the physical demands are high.

           To understand Dr. McCauley ‘s perspective one must have an understanding of biomechanics and ergonomics. Biomechanics is the examination of biological systems related to their motion putting emphasis on structure as well as function. This subject of science dates back to the Italian Renaissance when Giovanni Alfonso Borelli pioneered it as an academic discipline. The Italian physiologist was the first to describe muscular movement in terms of dynamics and statics. He also studied other body functions and physiological phenomena of the human body. Biomechanics has become a multidisciplinary science incorporating biology, medicine, engineering, and physiology. There are multiple branches which include sport, human movement, occupational, cell, and cardiovascular biomechanics. Relevant to the discussion of women in combat, this would be classified under human movement and occupational biomechanics. A soldier on the battlefield will be doing the physical requirements of a job and various movements when fighting. It could be argued that some techniques from sports biomechanics can be utilized as well.

Sports biomechanics may help in enhancing women’s physical fitness performance, by understanding the function of the female body under physical activity. Ergonomics also has a relation to biomechanics. It is an applied science which objects are designed so that people can use certain machines or other objects safely as well as efficiently. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce the risk of injury in the workplace. This discipline also examines how workers interact with systems. Ergonomics can sometimes be referred to as human factors engineering.  The US military is in dire need of ergonomic redesign. This is more of an issue with body armor, which has been a culprit in high rates of musculoskeletal injuries. Overloaded gear could cause joint and knee injuries. There is also the problem of poorly fitted armor. This problem is specific to women. If there are mostly men in the branch of the military, the armor produced was mostly for males. Women had to wear male sized armor, which did not fit. This was changed a few years ago when women began receiving properly fitting body armor. This could have been avoided if there was an ergonomic approach. Biomechanics and ergonomics must be applied to combat and training to decrease injury rates.

         The sex difference in physical fitness capacity must be considered. It was revealed  by Dr.  Pamela McCauley  that 55% of women failed the upper body strength testing in marine boot camp. It would be erroneous to take this as evidence that women can not be capable combat soldiers. If the frailty myth were true, then no woman would be able to pass. Another aspect of this would be that the failure rate should be much higher. The 55% statistic would  have to be 90% or higher to make such a general statement that women would make terrible combat soldiers. The physical fitness level of a person matters depending on which branch of the US military is going to serve in. The Air force, Navy, Coast Guard, Army, and Marine Corps have a different set of physical fitness standards.

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The updated fitness standards for the US Air Force.

The average male at maximum can have up to 57 lbs of muscle compared to women’s 33 lbs. The average male depending on their health condition and fitness  can carry close to twice his weight. The average woman can carry half of hers. There is not just a difference in muscle mass, but weight. An average man can be 10% heavier than the average female. The average male body is estimated  to be 30% stronger than the average  female body. Dr.McCauley acknowledges in her statement ”   women tend to have less skeletal muscle mass than men, especially in the upper body (arms, shoulders and chest) though there are conflicting research studies on whether or not skeletal muscle mass alone is actually the best indicator of performance.” Bigger muscles do not automatically mean more strength. Mass does protect from physical trauma. This explains why women experience more injury marching under load. Lower bone density and mass would make marching with 80 lbs  or more difficult for a smaller person. Muscular mass is relevant, but not as significant as muscular strength.  Women must focus on both building strength and mass to prevent injury. Specifically building the mass of type II muscle fibers, which are designed for explosive power.

 Sex differences

Relevant sex difference that could effect combat performance .

 The question becomes here is how physically strong can a woman become with training. Women can experience muscular hypertrophy and gain in muscular strength through weight training. This is the best method to increasing physical strength. Seeing as the average man has more muscle and bone mass their natural strength is higher. Natural strength is the power that can be generated without training. This means women would be starting at a lower physical fitness level in terms of muscular strength. If they lift heavy their strength levels could be equivalent or slightly above that of an average man.

Women rarely reach the same physical fitness capacity as an equally trained man. It is true as Dr. McCauley articulated one does not need to be an elite professional athlete, but certain military occupational specialties require a certain level of physical fitness.  An elite female athlete would not have a problem meeting certain standards compared to the average woman. Women have to train harder to reach a particular fitness level.Physical fitness indicators such as muscular strength are not equivalent among the sexes. The largest disparity is in the upper body. Men have broader shoulders which means they have more space to house more muscle on the upper body. Dr. McCauley has the solution based on physical fitness prior to entry and making assessments match the occupation at hand. Physical fitness would have to be at a particular level for women before they even attempt basic training. Doing this would prepare them for the physical demands of combat.

The average woman would struggle more compared to the physically trained women. This means it would take longer for an average woman to meet particular fitness standards depending on the military occupational specialty. Men who are unfit or out of shape would even struggle with physical tasks. It would be erroneous to believe that every man in the United States would be a capable soldier.  Even with elite female athletes it takes a number of years for them to perform at top levels.

          The difference in muscular strength is significant. Seeing as women’s shoulder joints would be looser compared to men’s this is a greater risk for injury. Strength can be dependent on certain factors which include genetics, age, sex, and endocrinology. Women have less muscle fiber in their upper bodies and produce lower amounts of testosterone, which can be a contributor to muscular hypertrophy. Building upper body strength would be more of a challenge. This requires an understanding of the anatomy of the muscles and bones.

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The muscles of the arms. Such limbs will be important in shooting and hand to hand combat.

 The muscles of the upper body include the pectoralis major, trapezius, deltoid, triceps brachii, brachioradialis, rhomboids, rotator cuffs, abdominal external obliques, pronator teres , and the iliopsoas. Women have these same muscles. A the cellular level there is no difference between male and female muscle. Women are working with a smaller amount of total lean body mass. This would mean that a consistent weight training program would be need to be taken before basic training. This would ensure a higher score on the Army Basic Training  Physical Fitness Test. The goal should be to enhance muscular strength to be able to perform tasks, without using maximum energy reserve.

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Muscles Of The Trunk 17 Best Images About Shoulder Examination On Pinterest | Magnetic
The muscles of  the upper body and thorax.

Muscular hypertrophy does result from an exercise regimen. Men’s muscles may be more fatigue prone considering type II muscle fibers are not built for long term endurance.Women may have more of endurance advantage with type I muscle fibers. It should be noted that the composition of muscle fiber type and vary depending on genetics and exercise regimens used. The female body can respond to training. Men will find it easier due to the hormonal difference and their size. Male muscle is bigger, but not of higher quality when examined from a perspective of cross sectional area. If a fit woman can reach the strength level of an untrained man or a little higher, it would seem as if this is a realistic target. The muscular system of men and women is similar enough in which training can have an effect on it. Strength is not only based in the muscular system, it involves neural activity. Nerves throughout the body control movement. Muscle memory does have a basis in the brain and how efficiently muscles can produce power output.Building strength can prevent hospitalizations. According to the US Army musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 31% of hospitalizations for both male and female soldiers. Congress did conduct a study in 1994 looking at the ergonomic,biomechanical, and fitness issues effecting women in the US military. This led to improvements to prevent injuries, but more must be done to maintain the health of the soldiers. Women must engage in upper body exercises. This would include lateral raises, pull-ups, bench presses, triceps extensions, and biceps curls. The entire body would have to be challenged with progressive overload.

          While technology has reduced the complete reliance o physical strength, fitness is still necessary. There may be cases in which a soldier id disarmed of weapons and would need use hand to hand combat.  Guns are in a sense a great equalizer, including planes and other combat related vehicles. If a military does not have these items, the will not be as powerful.

Hand to hand combat is taught to all soldiers just in case of the event that their fists are the only weapon they have. Women are at a disadvantage in terms of  size and brawn. Male brute strength surpasses female physical force.  Men tend to be more physically aggressive. Women’s aggression is more verbal compared to a more physically violent response. The reasons are part biological and sociological. It has been hypothesized this difference are the attributes of the human evolutionary past in which hominids had to fight for mates and hunt. What emerged was sexual dimorphism. Women will have to be trained to be as aggressive as possible and undue both the social and biological restraints. Women can build strength, but they must be good fighters. Learning martial arts can enhance women’s combat ability. Women must be taught how to fight and master a high level of skill to counter attacks that do not involve weapons. It should also be noted that training is a simulation of what battle might be like. The environment is controlled, so that recruits can learn skills.

The battlefield is more unpredictable. There could be a circumstance in which one must literally fight to the death to survive. This is why having fighting skills is essential to soldier training.Simply being physically strong does not make one the best fighter, if they do not have skill. These overlap with similar principles governing self-defense. One does not have to be large to defend themselves. Judging your opponent, learning certain moves, and avoiding freezing during attack are essential elements in combat.

Dr. McCauley states that pull-ups and flexed arm hangs are a good measure of upper body strength. Pull-ups can be, but the flexed arm hangs are not. This was an alternative offered to women, because at one time it was thought that pull-ups were not physically possible for them. Physical fitness standards were different for both men and women on the assumption that women could not meet higher standards. This is why with the movement for a uniform standard is underway. It will eliminate training that does not pertain to requirements to an military occupational specialty and reduce total training time. If women do not meet the same standards and requirements this will only cause a reduction in quality of the armed forces. The standards should not be lowered to merely add more women to particular branches of the military. Dr. Mc Cauley agrees with such an assessment. The increased risk of death an injury would result in a less effective armed force. This would only cause a human resources issue with more anger directed at women as a whole. Women must show they can fight and be competent in their occupational position. This means women have to challenge the long held frailty myth, which continues to be used to keep them out of physically demanding occupations.

          There are some aspects of the female physiology and anatomy  that will not be changed through training.  Running and aerobic capacity will not be drastically altered. The female pelvis is much wider, which reduces total running speed. When women run the rotation of their legs differs. From a biomechanical perspective, a male pelvis is more suited to faster running speeds. The disparity in upper body strength can be addressed easier compared to the difference is total running speed.

Although women are closer to men in the lower body, it is not just the difference in muscle size that effects running speed. The heart and lung play a role in running as well as other physical activities. Women have lower hemoglobin levels compared to men. Smaller hearts and lungs mean that there is less oxygen being transported to energize the muscles. This aspect of fitness may require that women train similar to a professional athlete. Knowing these facts about biology,physiology, and anatomy reveal several points of interest. A portion of women would need to engaging in exercise and physical activity prior to even attempting basic training. Another complication is that America in general struggles with weight related issues and illnesses. Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are becoming public health concerns, which would exclude many from possible military service. A large section of the American population would have to go on a weight management program. Women would be effected more seeing as body composition and endocrinology makes it more difficult for them to lose weight. Women would have a harder time reaching a particular physical fitness target, even if they were not overweight. There is no exercise or method to increase female lung and heart size to make them faster runners. Such differences lead to other considerations.

          Strength in diversity has become a new maxim in the American workplace. This seems to be more of a token and superficial image promoted rather than evidence of progress. There still remains discrimination, social stratification, sexism, homophobia   and intense racial hatreds. The lugubrious reality is no matter how well women perform they will always be treated with hostility or viewed as inferior by their male counterparts. Tokenism should not be evidence that the US Military values diversity or all who serve. The Trump administration has attempted to ban transgender service members. Such a blatant act of discrimination could later be extended to other groups. Such attitudes make integration of the armed forces even more difficult. The introduction of women into US combat positions will not reduce effectiveness. The only reason it would fail is if US Military leaders deliberately sabotage it.

The real failure comes from policy from the government and the military. The United States was not designed to be an imperial power, but has been moving in that direction ever since the Louisiana Purchase. The thirteen colonies expanded across the North American continent growing bigger with the Mexican War. The American Civil War halted expansion for a brief period and then it resumed. The Spanish American War marked the the rise of American empire. Ever since 1898, the US has been invading or intervening  in  various countries around the globe. This behavior will be the undoing of the nation. Financially it is not sustainable and has already cause political strain. Diversity of the US Military does not hide the flaws or sinister intentions of particular leaders. A nation has the right to defend itself, but not the right to wage aggressive war. Women who do enter these positions should not be used as pawns or propaganda. Women and men should join the US Military with the intention of defending the nation, not being foot soldiers to a successor British Empire. The ideological direction must change in military ranks and US foreign policy. Anti-discrimination should be the goal in hiring and employment related to the US Military. Token chants of diversity will only be reduced to filling quota targets. Doing that would mean two possible scenarios. Standards would be lowered to accommodate larger numbers of women or less physically demanding positions be created. The first option would be a terrible idea, the other may develop due to the changing nature of warfare. Cyber warfare will be common place with hacking being used as a means of espionage and attacks. There is one factor that also effects women’s total numbers in combat occupations. Personal choice is a large factor. Many women are not interested in such jobs or they do not want to take risks. Women may not like manual labor or occupations that involve being physical.

While training can increase women’s physical fitness capacity, there may be some areas too demanding physically. The Navy SEALS have a high training drop out rate. If it is hard for an all male unit, it would be more challenging for women. Attrition rates do effect all soldiers depending on the level of physical activity and exertion involved. This also complicates a draft of women, if a majority are not in the physical condition or shape to even complete basic training. If there is to be true equality, then women should be required to register for the draft. Every male has done so and there is little justification not to do so. Women would need a specialized fitness program to get them in proper fighting condition. However, even with such programs the numbers of women in combat arms would not equal that of men. Men have been a part of the institution since its establishment and women were officially recognized as members of the armed forces in 1978. The combat ban was only lifted in 2013. Attempting to increase numbers rapidly would only lead to disappointment; there should be gradual increases as well as recruitment efforts. Only with a biomechanical approach to training and a rational affirmative action policy can the integration of women into combat positions be successful.

 

The Biomechanics of Women in Combat

Varying Weight Training Intensity Increases Growth Hormone In Women

How Weight Training Increases Growth Hormone

This study produced by the American Physiological Society found that women who are involved in a long term weight training program will produce more growth hormone. The study involved  the following scientists and universities : Kraemer, Jeff S. Volek, Barry A. Spiering and Carl M. Maresh of the University of Connecticut, Storrs; Bradley C. Nindl, U.S Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, Mass.; James O. Marx, The University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Lincoln A. Gotshalk, University of Hawaii at Hilo; Jill A. Bush, University of Houston, Texas; and Jill R. Welsch, Andrea M. Mastro and Wesley C. Hymer, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Penn.  It seems that the female body is more complex than previously thought. This study was produced in 2006 and was published the American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism. The investigation shows that women are capable of building strength and muscle. It also allowed physiologists to understand to a greater degree how weight training in general improves metabolic function and muscle mass. Growth hormone was responsive to moderate and heavy exercise under regimens that contained 3 to 12 repetitions with varying loading. If women are attempting to build as much strength as possible then their load bearing activities must vary. This is also beneficial for building a stronger skeleton and avoiding bone related diseases. The role of endocrine function is more intricate than previously thought. This is why women’s endocrine physiology must be considered to create training programs to enhance performance.

         Hormones are chemical messengers that are transported through the blood stream. They are directed by an endocrine gland  or isolated gland cells which allows for a physiological response to be triggered. This happens in cells that contain receptors for a particular hormone. Hormones can be categorized in three different classes.

Hormone function

These classes are peptides, monoamines, and steroids. The pituitary gland must labor hard to maintain  Hypothalamic–pituitary–target-organ axis. Hormones are just one way in which the human body can communicate from cell to cell. Gap junctions, paracrines, and neurotransmitters perform these functions. Growth hormone acts as a repair worker acting as a builder. Its function is anabolic based. Somatotropin (growth hormone)  expains why children rapidly grow when the reach a particular stage in puberty. The pituitary gland is the conductor, which resides near the hypothalamus. It has a posterior  and anterior  section which both sections produce hormone for the body.  Hormones are not only important to communication between organ systems, but they do effect the performance and training of an athlete.

     The endocrine function is different for females compared to males. It was once believed that women were at a physical fitness disadvantage, because they produced more estrogen. Men’s greater testosterone allows for a body of lower body fat percentage and more muscle mass. However, it seems that when women train at a certain intensity, growth hormone acts a source of muscle and bone development. So, there is not a hormonal disadvantage rather a physiological difference. If the female body does not produce high amounts of testosterone, it merely relies on another hormone to produce bone and muscle growth in response to stimuli.  Depending on the fitness training stimuli the results would be better for building strength on ones that cause growth hormone to respond. Growth hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and has other functions. It contributes to halting tissue break down, fighting stress fractures, and improves metabolic function.

Growth hormone molecules  are composed of 191 amino acids. These molecules are capable of fragmenting into smaller units. These fragments can attach themselves to other molecules. Growth hormone can also attach itself to binding protein. There exists 100 variations of the growth hormone molecule. Growth hormone comes in different forms depending on its function and role in a particular task.  What researchers did in this study was to used the technique of measuring immune response. Immunoassays are examinations that are conducted by physiologists to detect changes in the immune system. The   tibia line rat growth assay also detects biological function of hormones.To find out more the experiment involved subjects doing exercise for a certain period of time.

        The experiment involved subjects separating into two groups. The first group would train upper bodies only. The second group of participants would perform total body training . The reason for separating the training in this fashion was obvious. If women have lower levels of upper body strength and can increase it through training, it would be easier to detect hormonal or physical changes in this region. Women do not have stronger legs than men, but are closer in strength to men in that region of the body.

There was also a subdivision within those groups. Half used heavier  weights with fewer repetitions. The other sections used lighter one with a more repetitions going up to twelve. Blood samples were acquired both prior and after the training experiment. This experiment lasted for 24 weeks. This was enough to make several conclusions and assessments. The presence of growth hormone depended on the exercise or training regimen used. Growth hormone’s appearance varied with the test used  for detection. This implies that the pituitary gland adjusts the amount of growth hormone relative to weight training stimuli. The body possibly has the ability to adjust the amount of growth hormone or type depending on the activity. The larger sized variants of growth hormone will be produced more if a woman does more heavy lifting.

sperling_fig2_450_288_42087 Growth hormone has multiple functions in the human body. There is a possibility that it has an effect on muscle fiber distribution fiber itself. Growth hormone also contributes to both amino acid transport and metabolic tissue energy expenditure. There are different types of growth hormone, but they will not respond in the same way. It is unknown what effect oral contraceptives would have on women in relation to this. The authors of the study intend to investigate that further. There should be some factors that could have effected the experiment. The tests given may not be as precise when measuring hormone changes in the blood stream. It does not seem like a major factor, however could women’s menstrual cycles effected them during the training sessions? Also it should be accounted for the fitness level of the participants. If there were women who had weight training experience, this may cause an alteration in data. If another experiment were to be done it may have to be another subdivision with women in an experienced or non-experienced weight training group. So far, it looks as if this is correct, but it needs more study.

           This would seem like an advantage in terms  of endocrinology in regards to women embarking on fitness programs. This would not be enough to close the physical strength gap between the sexes. Growth hormone as the study indicates functions similar in a role of what testosterone who do in a male under a particular training regimen. It is not an exact substitute, rather it is a difference produced from sexual dimorphism. Puberty and the physical changes that come from it explain the differences in elements of physical fitness capacity. Women produce lower levels of testosterone, but it does serve a purpose in their bodies. Bone strength and ovarian function are the roles testosterone plays in females. The hormone may also be important to women’s sexual functioning as well. The physical changes are documented by the Tanner scale, a chart that displays the gradual development of the body during puberty. James Tanner developed the modern growth chart as a guide for pediatricians. He also was a pioneer in using human growth hormone to treat children with endocrine disorders related to body development. During the tanner stages men’s testicles will increase in size increasing the amount of free testosterone in the body. Ovaries produce more estrogen compared to androgens. There are five stages on the tanner scale in which genitals and body composition will change due to the function of the endocrine system. Pubic hair emerges in both sexes and physical growth will transition a child’s body to a full grown adult. Men get their strength spurts around the fourth and fifth tanner scales. Women do not get strength spurts during this stage of the human life cycle.

Prior to puberty there is no difference in strength levels between boys and girls. When puberty causes hormonal changes which increases men’s physical fitness capacity. This mean under the same  training conditions women would not reach the same strength levels. Theoretically, if a woman were to train with a method that increased her somatotropin levels, she may get stronger than she would have with another technique.There still is a question about what are the full extent of women’s physical capabilities see as it has only been recently that there has been study on this subject. The nature and function of hormones relative to training seems more intricate than what exercise physiologists would have expected. This new information could also contribute to medical advancements as well. There is still more to learn about the human body and women’s bodies in particular.

 

 

Varying Weight Training Intensity Increases Growth Hormone In Women

Whey Protein Supplements and Exercise Help Women Improve Body Composition

 Whey and Women

Whey protein products have been known to be effective for men, but now it appears that it is useful for women. A study conducted by Purdue University revealed that women can benefit from Whey. Nutrition experts also contributed to the study. There has been more attention directed at how supplements react in a woman’s body. Most exercise physiology and nutrition or fitness related studies are done with men. Seeing as women are more active in sports and fitness it is important to do such studies that take into account biological and physiological differences. According to Wayne Campbell professor of nutrition science : “”There is a public perception that whey protein supplementation will lead to bulkiness in women, and these findings show that is not the case. “Simply taking a supplement would not increase muscle mass without a particular exercise regimen. However Whey can as the study discovered can allow for modest gains while not influencing fat mass. The study like any scientific investigation should be questioned, but it becomes more suspicious when the Whey Research Consortium financed the study. Robert Bergia  a Perdue  graduate research assistant led the study. Joshua Hudson a Purdue postdoctoral research associate who also contributed to this examination.

       Whey protein is used as a supplement to contribute to muscle protein synthesis. It consists of beta-lactoglobulin, alpha lactalbumin, bovine serum albumin, and immunoglobins. Using too much can cause headaches or nausea if not consumed in the recommended amounts. These are the only side effects and it does not pose a serious health risk. Some may experience cramps, fatigue, stomach pains, or reduced appetite. There are several different types of Whey protein. This includes concentrate, isolate, and hydrolsate. Whey may have health benefits. It could possibly help with lowering    cholesterol. Oddly enough, it may also be a method in combating asthma. Whey protein may have the ability to improve immune response in children with asthma.  Other studies suggest Whey may also be a way to manage blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular disease. Whey is not the only protein supplement, yet it has gained popularity in fitness circles. There has yet to be a massive comprehensive study that compares various protein supplements and powders. There must be one that is better than the other . There is no scientific literature that proves which supplements compared to Whey are better, so consumers have to do their own research. It becomes more confusing when one is a neophyte reading fitness materials.

      The need to study women and supplement effects is necessary. More women are becoming active in fitness and this also has business potential related to expansion of new consumers. Most importantly female athletes need supplements and training methods that are suited to their physiology. Taking this into account it can maximize athletic performance. Women are underrepresented in studies related to Whey protein supplementation. A majority of studies focused on men with 68% in total. Women are different in terms of biology and endocrine function which have an effect on physical fitness capacity. Knowing this training regimens and supplements can be designed to be more efficient. Otherwise women could be using methods that may not work for them. The reason why there is this underrepresented statistic is for a long period of time women were excluded from sports and discouraged form physical activity. Supplements were once seen as a male only consumer product. The only exception to this was diet pills marketed to women.

The fitness industry still markets weight loss and weight management to women, when there is a increasing interest for women who want to gain musculoskeletal mass. Women are no longer afraid to use weights despite persistent traditional gender expectations.  This phase of study is still in a state of infancy. There are some issues with the study that can be noted. The method seemed logical, but there may be a problem with replication providing different conclusions. Other variables must be accounted for when conducting an experiment.

         The study involved screening about 1,800 articles from journal databases. From these databases 13 studies were identified  along with 28 intervention groups that were relevant to the supplement studies. The selection process involved obtaining studies that included healthy women participants , consumption of whey supplements, exercise activity, changes in lean body mass, and a minimum duration of six months of training. The question here is what exactly were the health conditions of participants? Health could simply mean that their is absence of disease from the body. This does not equate to physical fitness. There can be people who are healthy, but not physically fit. Women who may have been part of this study could have altered the results if they were athletes. Depending on what sport they are active in, their body fat levels could be lower than the average woman. This would distort the results of proving effectiveness.

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The study if it wants to be precise it would have to use women with no athletic or fitness background as one group. Then take another sample group of physically fit women and give them Whey protein. Doing this for the same duration would produce a true result of Whey’s effectiveness. Then there is also the question of exercise. Which types of exercise were performed in these studies? This is significant due to the fact that other types of  exercise is more effective at burning fat. It was once thought that just using a treadmill could be more effective at reducing weight or altering body composition. Although this can improve cardiovascular endurance it will not dramatically reduce weight. Weight training seems to be more efficient in this regard. If all of the participants were either exercising using treadmills, weights, or a combination of both this also may distort results. The six week duration seems like enough time to witness significant change and thus should not be changed in another attempt. Multiple factors matter when conducting a scientific inquiry. The first step would be to get a large sample of women then make detailed observations of progress.

There may be different results depending on a person’s genetic body type. The only way to know for sure would be to document the changes in women with endomorphic and ectomorphic body types. If changes can be seen in them it is at least moderately effective. If there is a change in women of high physical fitness level, then it can be said this is highly useful supplement. Bergia concluded: “Although more research is needed to specifically assess the effects of varying states of energy sufficiency and exercise training, the overall findings support that consuming whey protein supplements may aid women seeking to modestly improve body composition, especially when they are reducing energy intake to lose body weight.”

          Whey can work on women. The question remains can women “bulk up” from it. The term bulking up in  a colloquial and inaccurate term. The process of building muscle is muscular hypertrophy. The previous statement from  Wayne Campbell may be premature. Changes related to the body depend on several factors. Genetics has a powerful influence relative to body type. Women who are naturally mesomorphic will have more potential for muscular hypertrophy. Exercise and training method are also pivotal in this equation. Women who are either using solely a treadmill will not get as strong compared to a woman lifting weights. Fitness goals are also a factor. Some women may merely want to burn fat, rather than build muscle mass gains. Sex has an impact relative to endocrine function. Seeing as women produce more estrogen and progesterone this means they will always have a higher body fat percentage. Hypothetically it is possible for a woman to make muscle mass gains if she does heavy resistance training, supplements with Whey, and eats a specific diet. This regimen must be consistent to produce a changes in muscular strength and size. Male and female muscle does not differ at a cellular level. The difference is in total mass. Supplements are not just for men. Women could probably benefit more from supplements. Whey may not be the sole protein supplement that is best, but this study could encourage more research into female athletic potential.

 

Whey Protein Supplements and Exercise Help Women Improve Body Composition