Women Run Faster After Taking Newly Developed Supplement

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds Combo of minerals and other nutrients might boost performance

According to a study conducted by Ohio State University women saw an increase in running speed with a nutritional supplement. This experiment involved women who took this new nutritional supplement  and another group of women who took a placebo. This was a great way to devise the experiment rather than telling the placebo group that they were not taking anything special. Such findings indicate that there is a possibility that women’s athletic performance can be greatly improved, if tailored to their biological and physiological structure. The major problem is that exercise physiology studies or experiments mostly use men. Women are not the same as men, which is why if they are to get the best training and nutrition programs, experiments must used female subjects. Women are now serious athletic competitors and they need supplements to meet their competition and performance objectives. The results were published in the Journal of The International Society of Sports Nutrition . Such studies are going to change women’s athletic performance by fixing deficiencies in nutrition. While training is essential, diet and nutrition have proven to make a difference in athletic performance.

        The minerals that were given to women included forms of iron, zinc, copper and  carnitine. The supplement also phosphatidylserine, which was derived from both fatty acids and amino acids. Carnitine was also derived from amino acids. phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid responsible for the health of human cells. The omega 3 fatty acids that are in it called EPA and DHA. The role it fills is to maintain healthy cell membranes. Phosphatidylserine can be produced in the body, but can also be found in particular foods. This phospholipid contributes to cellular function and also provides help to other tasks. Phosphatidylserine  is responsible for bone matrix formation, heart beat coordination, hormone secretion by the adrenal glads, and testicular function in men. The phospholipid also may play a role in maintaining neuron health and cognition.  Carnitine can be found in most cells of the human body. It is involved in energy production. It must transport fatty acids to the mitochandria, while removing waste compounds formed out of the organelles. There are carnitine supplements, yet the evidence that it can improve athletic performance is inconclusive. It seems that it is better when combined with other minerals as the study demonstrates. Carnitine has a variety of compounds which consist of L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine, and propionyl-L-carnitine.

Professor Robert Disilvestro the lead author and of the study stated : “I decided to start with minerals that are commonly low — or thought to be low in many diets — and brought in some of the supporting cast.” This reasoning appears to be correct in the formation of more efficient supplements. This also has implications beyond athletic performance. The reason many people may not be in great health is that they are not getting the proper nutritional requirements. Knowing this, some individuals could be doing the proper amount of exercise, yet are having deficiencies in diet.

Understanding phospholipids and other amino acid derivatives can be more beneficial to women seeking to improve their performance.  Robert Disilvestro discusses that there are some nutrition problems women have as serious athletes. This supplement also holds an economic opportunity. Disilverstro is seeking to develop this supplement for commercial use and was supported by Gatorade Sports Science Institute. They are not involved in commercialization efforts, but is possible they will be. This is an example of applied science. What applied science does is take the research and knowledge discovered then uses it for practical purposes. Relevant to this experiment the supplement will at some point be used for athletic performance.

          There are problems that the female athlete faces in terms of nutrition. Young women according to Disilverso have micro-deficiencies in nutrients. This will effect cell function during exercise. This means women’s full potential in terms of performance is being reduced due to the lack of such nutrients for the cell. The cells are the building blocks of the human body, so if they do not function properly this could result in major health issues. Young women in particular face these nutrient based deficiencies.


A nutrient is by definition a substance required for growth and the maintenance of life. Fatty acids and amino acids would be classified as micro-nutrients. The essential nutrients of the body are carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, protein, water,  and minerals. This can be acquired through the consumption of food or supplements. Another problem is that women tend to consume less meat than men, even when doing high amounts of physical activity. Meat can be an important source of protein and women need that just like any other athlete. Food is fuel for the human body. If women eat less they are not getting enough fuel. Consumption should be adjusted relative to considerations of endocrinology. Women would metabolize food into fat stores due to higher production of estrogen and progesterone. However, building muscle has the ability to burn fat. Eating enough of the right foods and having the correct amount of physical activity can make a difference in athletic performance.

There is also the consideration of how mensuration can have a role in mineral loss. This effects women differently ranging from severe cases to moderate levels of mineral loss. Mineral loss during mensuration can be countered with the consumption of vitamins A, C, E, and B. Vitamin A is essential to diet due to the fact it promotes growth of skeletal tissue. Bone health is essential for any person, especially an athlete doing an immense amount of physical activity. Once these issues are addressed women can have improvements in their run times. Designing supplements and training programs to women’s physiology and biology will make them more efficient athletes.

          The experiment’s conclusions revealed fascinating discoveries. The subjects did three mile runs and saw their run average drop from 26.5 minutes to 25.6 minutes. That calculates to a difference of 0.9 minutes. Stationary bikes were also utilized in the study. The distance covered was from 6.5 miles to 6 at the start of this study. There was also a step test that was done. the results from that part of the experiment showed women increased from about 44 to 40. These changes were not present in the placebo group, indicating this supplement could be effective. The first experiment only used 28 women and the following one used 36. A lower does of nutrients was used  and resulted in a 41 second average decrease in run times. The women used in these experiments were described as recreational athletes between the ages of 18 to 30 years old. They either done some form of aerobic exercise a least three hours a week for a minimum of six months. The reason for not using moderately in shape  women was that according to Professor  DiSilvestro “we wanted people who could already run three miles without it being a terrible burden.” The problem with this is precision. If this supplement is truly effective, the best way to see so is to test it on non-athletic women. The athletically trained women would gain from this, but they have already reach a fitness level in which it does not appear to be a dramatic change.

A more precise experiment would be to train women of lower physical fitness levels. This would take longer, but if their performance is significantly higher than their starting point it can be assumed that the supplement is highly effective.  The same process should be used. The subjects first ran three miles, biked, and the ended with the step test. The reason the stationary bike was used was to see if such a supplement could be used for more than just running. This could only be done if women in the study reach a high point of physical activity.

Men who are vegetarians may struggle with a nutrient deficiency. Protein is one of those nutrients that is harder for the vegetarian to get.Other methods of getting dietary requirements would have to used instead of consuming meat for the vegetarian  Although nutrient deficiencies are less common in men, they are not completely imperious to it. Supplements may not be a substitute for eating food with them in it, but can help people who have such issues in deficiencies. There also is another factor that may skew the data. This experiment was only done for 30 days and that may be too early to say that it very effective. At minimum a month would have been better. There is also the possible problem of side effects. So far, there appear to be none. Professor     DiSilvestro only added minimal amounts of nutrients when it was produced in capsule form. If measured correctly and the right dose is given this new supplement can be safe. The supplement will need further testing for safety and effectiveness. There are many supplements that claim to improve performance. These pronouncements are not always scientifically confirmed. This new supplement seems to be effective, yet must be able to produce the same results in accordance with the scientific method. These first experiments may only give approximations, rather than precise measures of effectiveness.


Women Run Faster After Taking Newly Developed Supplement

Sports Medicine Weekly : Strength Training

Strength Training

Sports Medicine Weekly is a radio program and website associated with ESPN  presented by Dr. Brian Cole with Dr. Steve Kashul. They expose readers and listeners to topics regarding sports performance, training, and exercise physiology. The topic discussed in this presentation is strength training and its benefits to performance. It was once thought that strength training would hinder performance, but science proved that notion incorrect. The fear of unnecessary bulk was more of a myth than anything else. This does not stop an athlete from performing a skilled movement of the body. When the term strength training is used there is the assumption is that it is just lifting heavy weights. There is more science and method to training regimens such as these. Sports Medicine Weekly provides a simple explanation about the elements of such training. The strength training program can be describe by five elements : muscular hypertrophy, maximal strength, explosive power, strength endurance, and periodization. If these elements are followed an athlete can increase their physical fitness capacity.

        When the muscle goes through a training regimen it will experience hypertrophy. Muscular hypertrophy only constitutes one aspect of sports specific strength training. This should be done for a specific group of athletes. Football and rugby players need it because their sport is contact. Bodybuilders want hypertrophy to shape the body’s muscles in a particular way.

The significant mass that these athlete acquire acts as a protection from aggressive body contact. The text states that too bulk can be a hindrance to most athletes. This is not true in certain cases, however it depends on what sport an athlete is competing in. Muscle mass would not be helpful curling or race car driving. Extra mass would be useful in wrestling, but that depends on which weight class the athlete is aiming to compete in. Muscle mass can contribute to force generation. Muscular hypertrophy can happen in both men and women. The difference in total mass gained is related to body composition and endocrinology. Muscles do get bigger from a strength training routine through adaptation. What causes growth includes the increase in actin and myosin  which are contractile proteins. There is also an increase in enzymes and stored nutrients. Myofibrils and connective tissue increases. Muscular hypertrophy can either be chronic or transient. Chronic muscular hypertrophy is the long term increase in the size of the muscles. Transient hypertrophy is experienced during exercise.

Protein synthesis stimulates muscle growth. During recovery periods from exercise protein synthesis increases. It is at low levels during exercise. More muscle does not mean more strength. It is related to the fiber type. Type II muscle fiber has more power while type I muscle fiber is more endurance based.A weightlifter would have more type II fast twitch fibers compared to a marathon runner. Athletes train their bodies specifically for a particular physical task. Strength is no solely about the size of the muscle, but the nervous system response to stimulus. Studies have suggested that motor neuron function and its efficiency also aid strength.



It should also be understood that type II muscle fibers have two classifications. Type IIA fibers are fatigue resistant, oxidative,  and fast. Type IIAB are notably glycolytic, oxidative  and are still fast but have an intermediate fatigue level. Type IIB is the most powerful having more force and more energy. There is a price for power in regards to endurance. Recovery is slow in type IIB muscle fiber. It is a possibility athletes could have a blend of both type I and type II muscle fiber. Hormones and    cytokines are essential contributors to muscular hypertrophy.

         The second element to strength training programs is the accumulation of maximal strength. Maximal strength ( sometimes called absolute strength) is the total force an athlete can generate from their body. The importance of this strength training element is based on the specific tasks of the sport. The more natural strength an athlete has the more potential to expand it further. Natural strength is the force than can be generated with no training at all. Through training natural strength can be converted into endurance or explosive power.  The peculiar aspect of maximal strength training is that it may not produce the same level of muscular hypertrophy. This may explain why a thinner person who trains in this manner may become stronger than a person who trains for the sake of aesthetics.

 This does not mean that hypertrophy would not happen to individuals who do maximal strength training. It is possible through genetics. The MTSN gene dictates the instructions for the production of myostatin. This protein regulates the growth of the musculoskeletal tissues. If an individual has low levels of myostatin this makes their potential of muscular hypertrophy greater. People do not use their total strength for simple tasks. Lifting a book would take less effort than lifting a weight. Even athletes when in competition may not use 100% of their maximal strength. There is an obvious reason based on body structure.

The muscles and skeleton when put under intense pressure and strain can be subject to injury. Muscle tears occur when the tissue is pushed far beyond its limit. Athletes may reach a maximal strength level, but they have not tapped into the total reserve of strength. Besides maximal strength, the body contains relative strength. This measures the force produced from a cross sectional area of muscle mass.Maximal strength can be translated into explosive power.

        Explosive power requires more than one action. Powerlifting requires one instance of explosive power to move weights. Other sports have to incorporate skilled movements  that are rapid and need the high power output. Physical power under a strength training program must be designed specifically for the functions of the sport. If this is not done, then maximal strength training will not be as effective in the long term. The basic foundation is the potential to add more strength, which can therefore be converted into explosive power. Power training although related to strength training has a major difference. The goal is to produce the largest amount of maximal strength in the shortest period of time. A person or athlete may have immense strength, but may not generate full power potential. The muscles must contract at a fast rate to improve power out put. This can be reversed by plyometrics.

Plyometrics is a method and system of training attempting to make muscular contraction more efficient by moving from muscle extension to rapidly producing power.  Other athletes such as martial artists, long jumpers, and sprinters have found this method to be the most useful for their performance. There are few guidelines for optimum training methods relative to plyometrics. Athletes who did this training have seen improvement. A quality strength program incorporates the methods of plyomentrics and power training. Strength has to be combined with skilled motor movements of the body. There is also another critical factor that is a part of strength training. Endurance has to be part of the general calculus.

      The other two elements of a strength training program include strength endurance and periodization.   Strength endurance refers to how long a person can last under strenuous activity. The amount of maximal strength also effects strength endurance. The larger amount means more left in terms of reserves. The goal is to maintain strength for a prolonged period. There is a point in which the body will fatigue and cannot to anymore. Athletes that focus on strength endurance include cyclists, swimmers, long distance runners, and rowers. The intent is to have a longer duration of activity.

This explains why circuit training is another method combined with a strength training program. Circuit training uses low weights and high repetitions. The problem is that many of these programs in circuit training  do not condition the nervous system adequately enough. A set of 15 to 20 repetitions would not produce the results an endurance athlete would desire. Circuit training does have benefits. That regimen has the ability to improve flexibility and coordination. The last element of strength training is periodization. A training program must be divided into phases. Doing this allows strength to peak at the right period, producing the desired outcome. Proceeding this way, it will allow for the reduction in possible over training. While it is important to be consistent with a regimen, rest must be valued as well. A period of recovery is required for the body to repair itself and allow muscle fibers to grow. Progression does not occur in  a week by week basis. When the program is broken into periods this allows for variations in exercise volume and intensity. This enables performance enhancements for a certain time.

There is a science to strength that involves cytology, biology, endocrinology, biomechanics,  and nervous system function. What ultimately is the best training method depends on what specific sports an individual is involved in. Explosive power for a marathon runner would not be as important as endurance. Pure strength will not be helpful unless fine motor skills are emphasized. What sports medicine and exercise physiology has done is allowed for a scientifically based method of training, rather than simple trial and error attempts.  Such topics can be complex when examining it from the physiological dimensions. Sports Medicine Weekly provided a lucid explanation for the general reader not familiar with the science of strength.

Sports Medicine Weekly : Strength Training

Venus With Biceps A Pictorial History of Muscular Women

Prior to crossfit or bodybuilding muscular women did exist. There were women involved in physical culture in the past, but there stories were not told. Venus With Biceps A Pictorial History of Muscular Women reveals to readers an unknown history of women’s sports and physical culture between the years of 1800 to 1980. David L. Chapman and Patricia Vertinsky  wrote this monograph. The primary source material contains images, cartoons, and magazines that Chapman had collected over the years. Physically strong women have existed prior to the 19th century, yet this book gathers evidence of their participation in strength feats and physical culture. Chapman spent 30 years collecting these images. His interest in muscular women really started late in life. It was 1987 when he began to do research into women’s involvement in fitness and bodybuilding. Chapman being a writer for numerous bodybuilding magazines was able to meet bodybuilders of the golden age era. He met Abbye Stockton and realized this was an interesting development that emerged among women, especially in a period in which their rights were limited. Another athlete that sparked further interest in this rarely studied element in sports history was Laurie Fierstein. She was a bodybuilder who also was the curator for the New Museum of Contemporary Art exhibit “Picturing the Modern Amazon.”  Chapman was invited to lecture at the museum discussing the iconography of the strongwoman in art and photography. Fierstien gave Chapman more insight into what motivates women to compete and push their bodies to the physical maximum. His discussions with Stockton and Fierstien led to some questions. These questions pondered how women struggled in the past in the physical fitness culture and the meaning of femininity. Female muscularity was more controversial in the past than in the 21st century. There has been a cultural shift, even though the more narrow minded attitudes still are present. The rise of the female mesomorph is a story of  advancement and repression. It can go in cycles. Through images and primary source material Chapman shows how sex politics and sports interacted. The muscular woman can mean many things to people : they can be seen as beautiful to others, threatening, or abnormal.

             The introduction describes the mixed feelings and messages that the muscular women gets from observers and proposes its main thesis . Negative reactions were worse in the past. Outlets for athletic competition were not widespread for women. The only place the strongwoman could display their talents was in variety show stages or vaudeville performance. Circuses also provided another platform.

venuswithbiceps  The text and information mostly focuses on women’s physical fitness participation in Europe and America. It is not known in other areas of the globe if women participated in some form of physical culture. Today it is not a surprise to see a female athlete or a woman who engages in rigorous exercise. More women are competing in the Olympics and in numerous sports compared to a century ago. The are presenting highly developed physiques. The impressive aspect of this is that such improvements are enhanced by new training techniques and pharmaceutical means. Chapman states in the introduction : “with the advent of steroids, hormones, supplements, and other artificial growth stimulants female muscularity has multiplied exponentially, and as female bodies transform themselves into something bigger, bolder, and different from what had been idolized in the past, the same old uncertainties and sexual ambiguities keep society bubbling away with loud,but hardly new controversies.” Women have pushed their bodies in athletic competition to new heights. This is not solely the work of performance enhancing drugs or supplements from a GNC store. Exercise physiology has in the past decades began to seriously examine women athletes. Most studies were done on men and it is clear the physiology is different in regards to sex. Having more resources and information at their disposal, women can enhance their athletic performance in an efficient manner. Old myths about women’s bodies and capabilities have been discarded. Even with these developments, the sexist and misogynist convictions still remain.

There are the common statements echoed by those who believe that certain activities are unladylike. The idea of the “mannish woman” was present in the past to an even more extreme degree. Patrica Vertinsky co-author of the monograph is a professor of  history with a focus on physical education, fitness, and physical culture. Throughout the text she describes this sexist prejudice as a way to dehumanize and undermine women’s accomplishments. There is an over reaction to female muscularity that does not happen with men. Women have to live with double standards and this is just another item on the list. This double standard and ostracism is nothing new to the female athlete. This is the primary foundation of the monograph’s thesis. The muscular woman had a presence in certain venues and in popular culture. The image presented of the muscular woman had influenced certain perceptions. Most were negative projecting anti-woman sentiment or homophobic feelings. The text describes this prejudice : ” over the last 100 years the image of the strong, confident, muscular woman has been the object of derision.”  The portrayal is either sexy dominatrix, sexless mannequin, or sideshow freak in the words of the thesis. However, it is a recent phenomenon that women of such as body were either placed into one dimensional images being presented to the public as monstrosities, lesbian man haters, beautiful living statues or sex objects. Such ideas are based off of hatreds either against women or people of different sexual orientations. It does not represent reality. Just like any other women their experiences vary vastly depending on class, ethnicity, and nationality.

The monograph also states that women had to fight ( and still continue) to reclaim the image and perceptions of the muscular woman. The reason negative attitudes were so pervasive about muscular women or female athletes was that men were producing certain images and ideas distorting public opinion. while the thesis is cogent, there are some debatable proclamations made in the introduction.

          The introduction claims that “sports as we know them were invented in England.” This is not true. All around the globe, various peoples had some form of sport. Sport dates back to ancient civilization. Women were also participants. The Greeks, Minoans, and Egyptians had sporting activities. It has been theorized that sport has its origins in military training. It may have also had a religious significance considering some Greeks had games revolving around the worship of gods or goddesses. Africa had a longtime tradition of wrestling among its peoples. The Diola, Yala, and the Njabi had women wrestlers. The Diola were known to use wrestling as a way to have arranged marriages. The male champion wrestler would marry the female champion wrestler. The issue with such a statement made by Chapman is that it excludes other non-European  civilizations. Doing so presents an ethnocentric perspective of  history, which is extremely limited. Examining the female muscularity phenomenon from a larger international perspective adds to support to the argument. Women were active participants in CuJu during the Song to Qing  dynasty in China. Amerindian peoples were also involved in stickball and footraces. Although met with the same ostracism as seen today, the female athlete is certainly nothing new.

This should have been expressed better in the text. Modern professional sports began in the West , but the sporting tradition had international roots. This should be obvious to any sports historian. Yet, this is a relatively new field of study and the study of the female mesomorph more so. When the industrial revolution occurred labor habits changed, including what was done during leisure time. It can also be disputed that in the words of  Chapman : ” in an age when machines became stronger and more efficient than their human operators, it became necessary to measure one’s peers in another way, and for many physically minded people, athletic competition was the answer- at least for men.” There had already been a system in which people measured one another and that was by class. Most civilizations throughout history have functioned on a pyramid structure with a ruling class controlling the majority. There is a pyramid structure present in democratic societies, which threatens the system itself. Sports provided the working class a brief escape from the agony of economic exploitation. It was more than just the physically minded people seeking an outlet, it was an a stress reducer in a world that was not changing for the better. Chapman should have done more research in this regard to sports history.

           David Chapman does describe the hysteria surrounding women engaging in physical culture. These objections to women’s participation came from religious organizations and traditionalists. The 19th century moralists condemned women’s advancement in any aspect of life saying too much education or exercise would harm women. They used religion as a cover to justify the control of women. They were challenged by others who believed that at least some exercise and education was good for women. Calisthenics, dancing, and rhythmical drills became acceptable in the 1800s for women. Yet, it was still advised not to take it too far. This language is similar to attitudes in the contemporary fitness atmosphere. Women are told often not to get “too big” or “cross the line.”

The physically active woman caused fear in some men and the muscular woman even more so. A strictly conservative society had a level of fear in regards to women’s bodies and sexuality during the Victorian Age. This is why the popular imagery of muscular women was either contradictory, confused, or negative. Men did not know what to make of or how to understand these women. Chapman explains that the reason there are not more photographs of muscular women prior to 1980 was due to moral codes about exposure of the female body. A woman could not simply have her torso exposed during the Victorian Age. Swimsuits were even generating an outcry. This even continued into the early 20th century in which Bernarr Macfadden was arrested in 1905 for holding a women’s physique contest at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The founder of Physical Culture magazine was one of the early advocates of women getting exercise beyond just improvement of figure. To traditionalists and religious advocates exposure of the female body was immoral. Women could be arrested for wearing a bikini in some US states. This was also a crime in Australia, Italy, and  on some French beaches up until the mid -20th century.  The moralists of the past would most likely be more shocked by the bodies and exposure of them are in the 21st century.

There were also arguments that muscle was bad for women’s health. The idea was that women would destroy their reproductive system and this had no basis in biomedical fact. There also an argument that was based purely on aesthetics. Muscles were “unfeminine” and would “unsex” a woman. Such claims represented gender bias and a desire for strict gender roles. Another reason muscular women in popular media may have been rare at the time was that many were not ready to see them. This may explain why producers of various forms of content did not put them in their works. Women who were muscular also may have not been willing to display such physiques for fear of ridicule. Chapman explains that even muscular women who posed for photographs did so in a glamour shot format, rather than the physique posing. The truth is that the glamour element has been a part of women’s posing and physique photograph. While female bodybuilders and physique athletes pose traditionally on stage, they pose differently in individual photographs. The glamour element is there combined with traditional physique posing.

The co-author should remember that bodybuilding was in its infancy, so women probably would not have posed in the same way as modern bodybuilders. To say the early photographs of muscular women are not authentic  physique pictures lacks cogency. It would be ludicrous to say women bodybuilders  who are not flexing in their off stage pictures are not authentic. There was a process of evolution in terms of presentation of the muscular form. The image of the muscular woman was getting wider exposure  compared to other periods of history.

              The female body as the book explains was susceptible to various fads and changes in beauty standards. Just like styles of hair and dress changed, so did ideas about the feminine body ideal. The ideal of the hour glass shape was enforced by the rise of the corset. The came the concept of the S shape as a beauty standard. Bustles were worn by women to enhance the female backside. During the late 19th century there was a paradigm shift in regards to women and exercise. There was the concept that they should do it to improve appearance. The few muscular women in these societies were pioneering such an idea. One of the ways photographers and artists avoided controversy about muscular women was to have them presented in a living statue pose. This would show that they are not a threat to male viewers and that there was no lascivious intentions in its production. This small movement of women into physical culture seemed to expand between the years of 1900 to 1914.

4366315_f1024 There are more images from this period of strongwomen. The reason for this had to do with the increased popularity of circuses, fairs, music halls, and vaudeville stages  .When World War I broke out, this stopped many entertainment venues from functioning especially in major war zones of  Europe. The rise of other mediums like radio and television also contributed to the end of the old forms of entertainment. Muscular women then lost mainstream exposure to an extent.  The strange part of this is that the muscular woman some how got separated from mainstream sports culture. Women getting involved in cycling, archery, and croquet during the 19th century. However women were still be held back at the Olympics Games. Strongwomen were athletes with out a place to compete or show their skills. Their training techniques would later be used by female athletes in various sports from the 20th century and beyond. If it were not for them, such sports and physiques on women would not exist. The real shift came after World War II with Abbye Stockton who demonstrated there was no contradiction between muscles and femininity.


   She revealed an impressive musculature, which at the time was not considered gender appropriate. Chapman revealed that female acrobats and trapeze artists  had more room to navigate in terms of the world of muscularity. The atmosphere of circus performance was more open and therefore less strict. David Chapman referred to it as a “hidden world of female strength.” There was once more a change in beauty standards. There was the diversification of the female form based on particular models in the fitness community. A firm female figure was preferred. This would eventually lead to a more muscular female body. It is not a surprise that female bodybuilding emerged during the 1970s at an important time of women’s liberation. The excellent part  of Venus With Biceps is that  was not afraid to discuss feminist hypocrisy in relation to the muscular woman. The feminist positions on beauty standards are often filled with contradiction and sometimes illogical conclusions. Chapman states that feminists harbor suspicions of muscular women as ” either beauty queens in disguise or that women physique athletes are simply trying to become alternate or inferior versions of men.” The falsehood of feminism is that they believe in a sisterhood and support all women. This simply is not the case when examined from class and race lines. They criticize beauty standards, but continue to support it by being large consumers of fashion and make-up products.

Chapman’s rebuttal to feminist claims is that a beauty pageant just reinforces one standard of beauty, while the physique athlete is developing another image based on individual convictions rather than cultural norms. The ludicrous claim that women are trying to be like men is nothing more than a recycled statement made by sexists, they claim to be fighting. If anything the muscular woman represents a feminist symbol. It shows that women can be strong and be successful in  once male dominated domain. The only reason that a feminist would think that a muscular woman would be imitating men is that strength is a male only attribute. That is incorrect as the female athlete has demonstrated. Men have used the ridiculous argument that because they are stronger they have a right to rule over women. When arguments of biological inferiority are proven mendacious, detractors resort to ostracism. There is a reason for such extreme reaction as Chapman articulates : “physically powerful and heavily muscled women have always been upsetting to the status quo because they reversed the “natural” dominance of the male.” Feminists should be their natural allies. The problem with such monographs is that they normally fall into preaching feminist rhetoric, rather than being a work of academic research. Venus With Biceps avoids this blunder , but occasionally  the illogical feminist reasoning emerges. Beauty standards have changed throughout history,but i may be the first time in which women are developing their own concept of aesthetics.

         The monograph also provides readers with an essay “Muscularity and the Female Body.”  Patricia Vertinsky shares her knowledge of sports history and the female body. Traditionally muscularity was associated with male power and beauty. Women were associated with weakness and frailty. This did not represent reality. Many notions of the body were based on pseudoscience and eugenics. The female body according to Vertinsky’s essay was cast as biologically inferior and designed for passive nurturing. From this emerged the concept of “natural bodies.”  Women’s bodies according to this concept were not meant to be strong. Men were the strong ones. Some scholars link this concept of muscularity and masculinity to the rise of modern celebrity culture and sports. It roots are much earlier according to Vertinsky going back to ancient Greek civilization. This association is more of a Western phenomenon and it can be seen in the art of the Greeks. Iconography shows that the ancient Greeks valued the muscular form as an aesthetic ideal  and this European tradition continued through the ages. Sculptors such as Polykleitos and Praxiteles created their works based on proportions that were numerical based systems  with an emphasis on symmetry. Beauty had been conceptualized as a mathematical quantity.

The female form has been depicted as soft in most Western artworks. The female bodybuilder presents another model of the female body not seen in a iconographical context.  

This was the harbinger to antropometry  and pseudoscientific biological racism. There was some contribution to credible fields such as physical anthropology. The idea of muscular man and soft curvy woman was a product of ancient Greek art and was sustained by pseudoscience of the 19th and 20th century. Women and men have various body types so the idea of “natural bodies” had no scientific basis. Crainometry, phrenology, physiognomy, and comparative anatomy believed that physical characteristics could describe the character, behavior, and intellect of a person. Unproven claims by pseudoscience were used to enforce much held prejudices about race, class, and gender. This would have devastating consequences during World War II when countries like Nazi Germany used eugenics to justify mass murder. Relevant to the discussion of women’s bodies it was believed that their main purpose in life was to produce babies. Other theories suggested that women were just too frail for physical activity. When strong women showed this was not truth they cast as anomalies. People would rather cling to mendacious beliefs rather than accept people who are different. Some theories were so bizarre, even for the eugenicists themselves William Sheldon began a system of body classification that equated body type to personality.

The three somatotypes as described by William Sheldon. Mesomorph, ectomorph, and endomorph are still terms used today in fitness terminology. 

The terms ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph were developed from his theories. Being a psychologist it it was obvious that there is not correlation between body type and personality. What his ideas and theories were suggesting that the mesomorphic body was a superior type and such individuals would run the world. This thinking has racist overtones similar to Hitler’s concept of a master race. His book The Atlas of Men (1954)   featured anthropometrical measurements of men proclaiming what were the superior body measurements. There was to be another book that would have been called The Atlas of Women , but Sheldon never finished it. Although his theories were not credible he got significant funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and his ideas were adopted by physical education departments in the US.  Barbara Honeyman Heath an assistant to Sheldon was gathering data and photographs for The Atlas of Women. She would work with numerous physical education departments who wanted to see women improve posture ,health,  and fitness. Heath came to the conclusion that these methods and ideas were fraudulent then repudiated Sheldon. She would later work with Margaret Mead using the somatotype system while studying the peoples of Papua New Guinea. This tale of junk science and prejudice reveals how perceptions of women’s bodies are based on distortions. The “natural bodies” were based on ideals that were not grounded in reality. When this was applied to health and beauty it was to the detriment of women.

            Beauty during this period of eugenics became associated with health. These two concepts are not related, but became linked together. Beauty can have various means or paradigms depending on who is asked to describe it. It varies among cultures, individuals, and societies. One can be healthy and not meet the societal standards of beauty. What the muscular woman does is define a new form of beauty. The problem with Vertinsky’s essay in the second portion is that it uses Naomi Wolf’s theory of the beauty myth. This has numerous flaws. The text states “Wolf attributed the rise of photography an important historical role in disseminating models of idealized femininity and beauty where the female body was expected to look dramatically different from that of a man.” Photography was not responsible for women’s poor image. It was the product of a society that valued women only as reproductive units or instruments for sex. The images of female beauty being weighed cruelly on women can be debatable as well. Unlike arranged marriage, employment discrimination, or lack of access to education no one is forcing women to focus on their appearance. Women buy and sell make-up, hair care products, and are more focused on fashion.

Women profit off of other women having insecurities about their bodies, yet feminists never acknowledge this. Men they state are the ones who promote the beauty myth. The problem is that Wolf’s analysis and claims ignore the fact women have a choice in the contemporary period; the woman of the Victorian Age did not have such a luxury. The issue also revolves around the fact many women have low self-esteem, which leads them down a path of body obsession. This makes women and girls with such issues of self perception more vulnerable to certain images propagated through various types of media. Victorian Age women were more restricted in most areas of life. Areas such as medicine, fashion, and beauty ideals were used to justify women’s subordination to men. The corset was an example of this subordination. This type of clothing was designed to squeeze a woman’s waist to make it appear smaller. Like most clothing for women during this time period it was designed to restrict movement. It was believed that women should not overexert themselves. Physicians were convinced that physical weakness was a woman’s natural state.   There was another camp that emerged in this debate about the female body. Women should at least have some health conditioning for childbirth. Women involved in some form of physical activity would not harm the as some health reformers ensured. Catherine  Beecher was one of the early advocates for women getting exercise. This was not for the purpose of appearance, rather a eugenic purpose in mind. The major shift came when women wanted their physical exercise to become more than just for the basis of appearance.

        As Victorian prudishness disappeared women began to become more in touch with their independence. During the late 19th century cycling became a popular pastime for women. The beauty concept developed the notion that women needed exercise for their beauty. Body ideals began to fluctuate. The Gibson girl was the voluptuous type. When the 20th century arrived the flapper depicted a thinner female body. The rise of film and popular entertainment venues presented the public with new images of the female body. The muscular woman actually did have a venue in popular entertainment.

 From Corsets to bicep curls, it seems women have gone through a political, social, and physical transformation. 

Circuses, music halls, and vaudeville was a popular form of entertainment during the late 19th to early 20th century. Strongwomen performed in these venues. There were instances in which strongwomen gathered a following. Charmion was a trapeze artist who was filmed in Thomas Edison’s short film “Trapeze Disrobing Act .” The 1901 short film demonstrated that men were getting interested in the a strong female physique. Women were performing strength feats just like the men. This was the period in which modern bodybuilding was being developed. Eugen Sandow and Bernarr Macfadden were pioneers in physical culture and modern bodybuilding.  To them the built physique had to be displayed on a stage. However, the new physical culture movement did receive backlash from medical professionals and physical educators. They though developing muscles to a high degree would reduce body efficiency and pose a health risk. This was not true and advocates of physical culture challenged such claims. Macfadden was revolutionary in the sense he advocated exercise and strength for women. He once stated that “there can be no beauty without muscles.”  Physical Culture magazine was read by both men and women. The magazine would reach sales of  over a million copies by 1955. There was another shift in the body ideal for women. The new woman was athletically active. Charlotte Perkins Gilman feminist, novelist,  and sociologist advocated that women have full control of the bodies, which included developing themselves physically. Her 1915 novel  Herland  emphasized this idea through a book in which women lived independently, were self-sufficient, and were active physically. This was a work of utopian feminist fiction in which men did not exist and the characters resembled the amazons of ancient Greek myth.

The fitness culture has a long history. One of the ways ideas were spread were through magazines and this continues to some degree today. Internet publications are now overtaking traditional print media. 

William  Blaikie produced a popular book called How To Get Strong and How to Stay So. This work of physical education was advocating that women and girls train to build strength so they can maintain good health. It seems some were not seeing a conflict in relation to muscularity and the female body. Vertinsky then explains that during the interwar years some still saw the contradiction between a strong body and femininity. The press was harsh in particular in the criticism of women. Much of it was either sexist or homophobic. While the author does not focus on the fact that non-white female athletes had to deal with both racism and sexism. African American women athletes were normally ignored by the mainstream American press. The text should have mentioned this more in a wider context, because it only focuses on the experiences of mostly white or European women. This limits the scholarship. Women were by the 1930s becoming more vsible in the sports world, yet there were objections to them. Most were based on their appearance. Athletes such as Babe Didrikson  were described as “muscle molls”  meaning they were manly or unfeminine. Women’s strength is often condemned when it is not needed, but in times of peril it becomes a necessity. During World War II women had to take the jobs of men fighting overseas, which required manual labor. Women had to be strong so that the war effort was successful.

After the war, there was a sharp turn in conservatism in terms of women’s roles. Women were expected to return to the domestic sphere. This was happening when Pudgy Stockton was making a larger impact on women’s fitness, which would not be realized until later in the century.   She popularized the idea that women could lift weights and still remain feminine. The odd contrast was that the ideal of beauty was shifting back to a slimmer body type. Vertinsky  cites the rise of the fashion industry, weight loss industry, and even toys like Barbie as a reason for the shift back. It could also metaphorically symbolize some men’s desire to control women and maintain the status quo. Stockton and the women who were inspired by her began to find an alternative. Lisa Lyon would be inspired to build her body and she would later become one of female bodybuilding’s first pioneers. This came from looking at photographs of Stockton.

The essay does do a great job of explaining how body image conformity was and continues to used against women. Yet, incorporating the beauty myth concept into such an argument  makes it lack credibility. Niomi Wolf’s theories and ideas have either been contradictory or at worst not entirely accurate. There is a tendency for feminism to cast all men as oppressors; this seems strongest in modern day third wave feminist rhetoric in academic analysis. The reality is that no one is forcing women to submit to body image pressure like women are forced into marriage or particular economic sectors. Feminism is often uncertain or contradictory on the analysis of the female athlete or muscular woman. It shifts between praise or scorn. Sometimes it takes an extreme route of the notion that women should just enter areas for the sake of  being antagonistic to men. These ideological conflicts can not be solved with a simple answer. The essay does provides a lucid explanation in regards to the connection between sexism, eugenics, health, and beauty. Yet, the small amount of feminist rhetoric weakens that strength of an otherwise rational argument. The  Patrica Vertinsky’s analysis provides also an clear synopsis of the history  in terms of were the muscular woman fits in a wider historical context.

      The rest of the monograph proceeds to show primary source material starting in a chronological manner. The muscular women of the past had more of a struggle supporting themselves with their athletic talents alone. Some professional women made a living being street performers. Strongmen did not have it better and would often work with strongwomen to increase audience attraction. Such performance acts could be seen in carnivals, fairs, and theater houses. Although the strong woman acts are considered to be a development of the 1800s, it is possible that it began earlier. The book in the first chapter shows five engravings from 1783 that depict women performing strength feats. They show women from Leipzig, Germany doing strength feat acts with anvils and horses. There is a possibility that these act were done by means of chicanery or the product of someone’s imagination.  These women could have been real people, but is clear that the strength feats are exaggerated. Strongwomen predate the rise of physical culture and heath fitness fadism in the 19th century. They benefited from this phenomenon. While health professionals were just beginning to embrace lifting exercises, strongwomen were doing this for a century. From the visual materials that remain, their are names of the foremothers of iron. The earliest documented name is that of Elsie Luftmann. She was known to do cannonball juggling acts and lift large weights. Luftmann toured mostly in central Europe.

There could have been more strongwomen active, but Elsie Serafin Luftman  is the only name so far remembered from that era in the early 19th century. This illustration is dated at 1830.

Although it seems that this was the activity of mostly European and American women, women of other ethnic groups were involved. Miss Lala  was a African Polish strongwoman born in 1858. She was also an acrobat, trapeze artist, and did other stunts . She became are very popular strongwoman in Germany, France, and much of Europe. This was not unusual. There had been an African presence in Europe for quite sometime. Her real name Anna Olga Brown and she was active through the 1870s to 1890s. Little is known about the rest of her life.  What is remembered is that she would perform iron jaw acts. Allegedly she would hold a cannon with her teeth as a strength feat. This may be another trick that circus acts would do. However, the other acts she would do were genuine.

strong woman
Miss Lala was so popular that she was the subject of the painting “Miss La La At The Cirque Fernando”  by Edward Degas in 1879.

 The era was known for producing many posters and visuals advertising strongwomen. The graphic art is a delight to look at for a reader. Graphic design is often under appreciated, but has a major impact on culture and visual arts. The most important element in terms of history is that it leaves primary source material.

 Changes and transformations can be documented. This allows scholars to see possible patterns in ideas or commonly held perspectives. Women staring in the 1830s began as strongwomen and by the 19th century were becoming professionals in this profession. They were doing this in an atmosphere that was hostile to women’s advancement or freedom. The reason women may have had more room to navigate this field was because it did not prove to be a threat to the social and political order. As long as this was just simple entertainment with no definite statements on sex politics, there were no repercussions for women involved. While strength and brawn were essential to their acts women were still constrained by social mores about gender roles. Even successful strongwomen like Athleta would do the most to cover up their bodies. The reason was not to be a threat to male members of the audience . Another reason was that it would have been considered inappropriate at the time for women to expose or display their bodies in a particular manner. Some women were willing to challenge  that. Frances Rheinlander  who was know as Athelda was known to do poses that are common on bodybuilding stages today.

Women also had trepidation about displaying such musculature. The fear of looking masculine or violating gender norms was a challenge.  Then came another paradigm shift. Strength was no longer seen as harming a women’s feminine qualities. Strongwomen themselves began to present an image of strong and beautiful woman. Louise Leers, Kate Roberts, and Katie Sandwina ushered in a golden age of strongwoman performance. This as between the 1890s to early 20th century. Audiences were amused and fascinated with women who could lift object twice their own weight.

 There were interruptions that occurred that brought the golden age of strongwomen acts to a period of hiatus. World War I devastated the world order. The world came back to a sense of normalcy to a degree, but by 1929 the Great Depression hit. The 1920s did still have strongwomen performing yet that period of  prosperity did not last. Muscular women obviously existed prior to the 1800s. The text merely shows that they were not documented until that century. The monograph also clarifies that not every muscular woman was  a circus performer or professional strongwoman.

    The following chapter “pumping wood” reveals a fascinating change in terms of women and fitness. Regular women and female athletes wanted to build muscular strength for the purpose of just staying in shape. Early women’s physical culture literature discouraged exercise, due to the concept of the frailty myth. There was the mainstream conviction that women just did not have the physical constitution for strenuous exercise. A consensus was later reach that women needed at least some form of physical activity for their health. Calisthenics and working out with wooden dumbells was advised. Regular women’s motivation for working out was different from that of the athlete or professional strongwoman. The goal was not to build a strong physique, rather maintain health. Many health conditions at the time that were plaguing women were related to the corset. These tight garments could dislodge organs and pinch the lungs.

Just like today every woman who goes to the gym does not have the same fitness goals in mind. 

The chapter contains illustrations from newspaper articles showing women how to do proper exercises from Harper’s Weekly . Women would eventually discard their corsets so that they could have more free movement during an exercise session. Women could join exercise clubs, but this was extremely rare. Women interest in exercise and physical culture did spark a backlash. Even though women were few in number in physical culture, social conservatives and sexists condemn women’s participation. The muscular woman was made into an object of ridicule and contempt. The text has printed a series of valentines cards which mock female athletes from 1900. These were known as vinegar valentines and normally ostracized groups of people the producers found unappealing. Postcards would also ostracize athletic women and women who decided to engage in physical culture.

sexist postcard
This postcard dated  1905 states that women should not waste time on exercise. Postcards and valentines normally depicted the female athlete as vain, ignorant, or egotistical.
This is a booklet from 1900 produced by Lydia Pinkham Company . It features a woman doing a double biceps pose. The Pinkham Company booklet is a demonstration of positive depictions of the female athlete at the time.

Chapman explains that many times men did not know what to make of the muscular female. One method to deal with such a different concept of womanhood was to insult and shun a woman who did not meet societal gender expectations. All the depictions were not negative. Magazines as this chapter demonstrates sometimes had women on the cover. Fitness, exercise, and sport were at onetime considered male only activities. Women gradually entered the world of fitness culture. Women during this period also used Indian clubs and took up cycling. There was a new woman emerging that was more independent and was no longer willing to be regulated to the domestic sphere. As women were demanding voting rights on both sides of the Atlantic men were becoming threatened. This explains the exaggerated reactions to women engaging in sports and physical culture. There are complaints today that female athletes and fitness personalities do not get enough coverage, but during this period of 1900 to 1914, it was rare that women were present on magazine covers. Sometimes there were cases they were visible regardless of public reaction. Booklets also appeared giving advice on women’s health. Women who were seeking heath improvement rather than athleticism or physical development. The following chapter notes several paradigms that emerged.

       The chapter ” Pursuing The Healthy Life” demonstrates how rapidly body ideals changed. The hourglass figure went out of vogue in favor of the s shape. The Roaring Twenties saw  the rise of a woman with more independence. This was not equally distributed among the various classes and ethnic groups of America. Women did obtain the vote, but African American, Native American, and Asian Americans still had to struggle for equal voting rights. Women who were of the upper class had more time for leisure and sport. The fitness world at this time was developing a space for women. Health and beauty clubs would emerge in the US. The taboo about women in exercise had been lifted. There were some problems in this new paradigm. Mass media and popular culture of the era encourage exercise  for women for the sole purpose of making them look attractive to a particular standard. There were multiple models of the female body presented. There was the tomboyish flapper, the traditional lithe woman, and the female athlete. Although female athletes  of the interwar period  were training just for there sport, they did develop impressive strength. Alice Marble and  Babe Dickerson Zaharias were making women’s sports notable to the public, with their magnificent performances.

The public was at least to an extent getting used to the idea women could play sports or be involved in fitness culture. Advocates such as Mary Bagot Stack established the Women’s League of Health and Beauty in 1930 to encourage women to be physically active. This was one example of many clubs that emerged in both Britain and the US. Women there would practice gymnastics, dance, and calisthenics. The reason such organizations did not generate condemnation was they stayed in line with traditional gender roles. Women were not seeking to be athletes or build their muscles. Lifting weights was not part of the exercise regimen. There were women still around in the 1930s will to display a female body with muscular development. Ivy Russell was a weightlifter and wrestler who developed an impressive physique. She was born in the British Empire and many historians of  bodybuilding consider her to be the first woman to create such a physique. This can be disputed, because there may have been others yet she was probably    the first to enjoy displaying such muscular strength.

The muscular woman and the female athlete in general got limited exposure. Ivy Russell was willing to flex her muscles during a period when that was inappropriate for women. Many photographs of muscular women from the 1800s to mid-20th century show them not flexing their muscles to prevent challenging gender role boundaries.Even women with significant development were discouraged from doing so. This does not cause issues when women athletes flex today. Russell was a foreshadowing of what was to come by the late 20th century.

 There seems to be a cycle of advancement and backlash. There was some room for negotiation  to an extent in society. Women began taking advice from other women rather than the majority male medical professionals, who had limited understanding of women’s bodies. There was a fitness culture developing, but it put emphasis on machines that in the contemporary period would seem ludicrous. Weight reduction machines were popular forms of exercise equipment and the shake weights of their day. Vibration belt machines were common in gyms promising users they could lose huge amounts of weight.

Women using vibrating belt machines in the 1920s.

The rise of modern consumer culture also produced fitness fads. As women had more free time , it was only natural that it was occupied with such leisure activities. Some fitness fads even evolved into movements. The Life Reform Movement which developed in Switzerland and Germany advocated humankind’s return to nature by embracing healthy living, fitness, a return to nature, and an embrace of sexual liberation including nudism. This movement was more of a reaction to a rapidly industrialized and technological world as well as the rejection of the traditional conservatism of Europe. This movement spread throughout Europe and embrace outdoor physical activity.  It was at its height between the 1920s and 1930s. It was prohibited in Germany when the Nazis came to power.  There was one element that remained in the totalitarian state: the embrace of physical activity and naturism. The Nazis believed good health would make the nation stronger and produce better Aryans. Nazis and the Fascists did not encourage physical  exercise for women’s sake, but rather to make them fit mothers who would produce future soldiers. Italy was more more advance in this project, because there had been a long history of women being involved in exercise there.

This magazine from Fascist Italy was encouraging women to exercise so that they could be better mothers. The totalitarian fascist governments wanted large populations that so that they could build large armies.

The coming of global conflict in 1939 brought about social and political changes. Women were just like in World War I asked to contribute to the war effort by working while the men went off to battle. There was also a pop culture transformation as well. The idea of  physical strong women appeared in comic books such as Wonder Woman and Sheena. When fascism was defeated women were forced from their jobs in factories. The 1950s gave way to more social and political conservatism.

          There were a number of strongwomen and athletes becoming notable during the wartime era. Dorcas Lehman, Relna Brewer, and Pudgy Stockton.The 1940s was a time in which even women who played other sports were popular. The All American Girls Professional Ball League became popular with the public. With males being drafted and fighting in the war, many teams were losing their star athletes. Owners formed this baseball team with women and it filled stadiums. Women’s professional baseball existed from 1943 to 1954 in America. Sadly, it ended for women when men came home and owners no longer promoted it. Attendance dropped and this meant the end of women in professional baseball.  Some women were actively trying to make sports, fitness, and weightlifting appeal to women. Siegmund Klein a major figure in fitness at the time was opposed to women using his gym. The famous strongman and bodybuilder was convinced that athleticism was a male only affair. He was soon changed his position when he realized women could be great customers to his gym establishment in New York. Some men were getting used to the idea women could be strong.

Pudgy Stockton poses with  her husband Les Stockton.  These two athletes were known to do various strength feats on Muscle Beach in California.

 The monograph does  provide a great explanation why Stockton was important. She participated in the first women’s weightlifting meet in 1947. It was held in Los Angeles and had various weight classes. This was a significant step in the history  of female physical strength. Stockton also became an advocate for women writing in Strength and Health  promoting the idea women could lift and still be feminine. The texts also mentions women’s professional wrestling was emerging in the mid-1940s to early 1950s. The book contains a photograph of Mildred Burke and the Fabulous Moolah who were the harbingers of women’s professional wrestling. While there was some progress for women in fitness and sports culture, after the war there was a return to traditional gender roles.

The 1950s saw a return to tradition. All of a sudden women being strong and flexing their muscles was no longer considered acceptable once more. Venus With Biceps describes the period between 1950 to the mid-1970s as a time in which muscular women disappeared. They literally did not vanish, but their mainstream exposure was gone. This also could be seen in the fitness culture in which magazine merely put women on the cover not for their athletic feats, rather a decoration. This was a major reversal in terms of women’s progress in a male dominated arena. Gone were the days of  strongwomen having mainstream platforms. This would be temporary, because another change would happen in the form of second wave feminism.


There have been muscular women as long as there have been strong men. During this period of limited exposure photographers would seek out trapeze artists, acrobats, and  aerialists during the 1940s and 1950s to document female muscle. Although these women had athletic potential they had no outlet or platform to display it. Two decades would have to pass until the most radical stage of this transformation would come.

         The last two chapters explain the shift to just mere figure improvement to the development of muscular strength. This process would result in the creation of modern day female bodybuilding. Muscular women had been excluded from magazines, gymnasiums, and other public venues  during the nadir period of the mid-20th century. The problem with Venus With Biceps is that it misses on crucial point in this historical discourse. Title IX was pivotal in the increase of women in athletics. That legislation gave many girls the opportunity to play sports and go on to be champions in both national and international competition. Many female bodybuilders of today got their start in other sports before coming on stage. This is a vital link that binds the fitness culture to the sports world. Lifting weights was once thought to harm athletic performance. When this was proven false athletes from various sports began weight training and seeing their performance improve. During the 1950s the only way women could get close to bodybuilding culture was to be in a beauty pageant. It was common at the time to have beauty attached to them. Men objected to this they did not want to be seen as male counterparts to beauty queens. The feminist revolution of the 1960s and 1970s did give women more freedom in terms of employment, education, and reproductive rights. Sports was a low priority compared to more pressing issues. All this political and cultural change was happening during a period when women were entering the sports world en mass. The first female bodybuilding competition would be held in 1977 under the auspice of Henry McGhee. This was not a beauty pageant; women were judged on their muscular development. Following this  Doris Barrilleaux began running contests of her own.  Female muscularity would be pushed to new heights with the arrival of various contests.

Rachel Mclish would go on to become the first Ms.Olympia in 1980. The last photograph is of her in the book. The way it is organized and written readers can see how over the past two centuries women’s athletic physicality developed. The general public who were exposed to this may have thought this was a new phenomenon. Those with a knowledge of the historical background would understand it is a much longer tradition. The difference in the late 20th century was that women were pushing their bodies to the physical maximum. The strongwomen of the past were not making muscular development their goal. The women of the late 20th to 21st century involved in fitness were seeking their highest level of development. The author notes as more contests opened the more muscular women became and the more they appeared.

There was an evolution in the female physique on stage with women becoming more muscular than people thought was possible. Lisa Lyon although she only competed one time was a contributor to the early version of female bodybuilding. She won the World’s Women Bodybuilding Championship in 1979. Like Pudgy Stockton she was prompting the idea of women’s bodybuilding and weightlifting to women. She was inspired by Stockton. The monograph mentions the early pioneers, but is curious it does not mention the later champions like Cory Everson, Lenda Murray, or Iris Kyle. It makes it seem as if the evolution stopped at 1980. While readers would obviously know that there are muscular women in existence and are active in sports new comers may be confused.

       This journey into female strength and muscularity is not over. The author states that the female body was altered to a higher degree with performance enhancing drugs. Drugs have been a part of sports for a longtime, but that is not the only contributor to the new physique presented. Women became serious about training and more competitive as competitions grew. There was another shift in consciousness. It was acceptable for women to have a certain level of  fitness or even tone, just as long as it was not “too much.”  Such descriptions of what is excessive are relative and opinion based. It can be disputed that the claim as Chapman articulates ” unfortunately, the introduction of drugs has meant that once again, many people regard female bodybuilders as freaks.” Prior to the existence of performance enhancing drugs this attitude was present as the earlier chapters of the book demonstrate. This is not based on drug use or the side effects, but on sexist prejudice and a narrow definition of what a woman should be. The reason people have not gotten used to the idea of a muscular woman is that society hates women with power. The oppressive structures can be removed, yet the hateful attitudes still remain within a society.

There has been a distortion about women’s bodies. The difference now is that they are beginning to reject to particular societal beauty standards. There is an irony that the monograph articulates. It has been close to 200 years of the public appearance of the female muscular form and people still cling to the idea it is not proper.  Although Venus With Biceps does not discuss other developments much has happened since its 2010 release. The last Ms.Olympia was held in 2014. This was a major blow to female bodybuilding, but it was brief. The Rising Phoenix Competition became a replacement when the IFBB terminated the Ms.Olympia. This does not resemble the nadir period of the 1950s to 1970s. More women are competing in physique sports such as figure, fitness, physique, and bikini. The female bodybuilding category although struggling has not phased out completely. Former athletes such as Lenda Murray continue to promote and hold contests for athletes.

The women continue to survive in the bodybuilding culture despite various obstacles. The biggest change has been aided by technology. Women who are fit, but do not compete are active on social media and are seen by millions of internet users across the globe. Compared to the past two centuries, it is easier to find material related to or focusing on muscular women. There are women who are active in professional sports to a larger degree compared to the 19th and 20th century. Venus With Biceps A Pictorial History of Muscular Women is a great documentation in regards to a rarely studied element of women’s sports history.   This primary source material is perfect for anyone doing research or wanting to learn more. The monograph’s analysis related to particular subjects can be debated. Not mentioning Title IX seems to be a flaw in the book’s historical discourse. These minor imperfections do not effect the overall presentation. These photographs, advertisements, and visual art show that the muscular female did exist and was part of the pop culture consciousness. Although the same negative attitudes remain, many now see there is no contradiction between strength and femininity. It may take another 200 years for the majority to accept such an idea. The wonderful part about the contemporary period is that there are more strong and muscular women compared to the past.   Venus With Biceps A Pictorial History of Muscular Women is a must have book for fans of history, female muscle, and sports. It is unknown what this evolution in women’s physique will become, but there is past documentation that its has been occurring for some time.

Venus With Biceps A Pictorial History of Muscular Women

Psychology Today : Battle of the Sexes

The Battle of the Sexes

There have been arguments that men are biologically and physically superior  to women. This has been proven false, because scientifically it has been proven that ” biological superiority” does not exist. Men and women are biologically, anatomically, and physiologically  different . This does not indicate a superior or inferior sex. Science reveals much about the battle of the sexes in terms of physical abilities and biology. The Psychology Today article does claim there is no clear winner in terms of the battle of the sexes. However, from an evolutionary and health perspective women are the winners. They are more likely to live longer compared to men. Women are in this regard not a weaker sex. Other measures such as intelligence quotient (IQ) are not a reliable measure. While the other scientific statements can be verified, measuring intelligence may not sustain the rigors of the scientific method. Psychologists are still debating what is intelligence. There exists health disparities among the sexes that are due to both environment and biology. There is no stronger sex, yet women are winners in the test of survival.

        Men have more physical strength on average. The difference has to do with the amount of free testosterone in the male body. This cause a difference in body composition resulting in a greater percentage of muscle mass. Muscles are not the only contributor to physical strength, it also includes bones, ligaments, and tendons. Muscle cells are the same for both men and women the difference is amount. Women retain higher fat levels no matter what their body type is. Males have a greater number of type II fast switch muscle fiber, which allows for more explosive power during a physical task. Until the onset of puberty, there is no difference in physical strength. When puberty starts women’s bodies gain more adipose tissue from estrogen and progesterone.

Women do not have the strength spurt that males gain during puberty. Both sexes have growth spurts during these years. Girls have their growth spurt earlier meaning they will for awhile be taller than boys. Between the ages 9 to 14 girls are growing faster than boys. Boys experience growth slower. The first stage happens around the age of 10, but there is a dramatic shift around the age of 13. The largest growth spurt happens around two years after puberty. The last growth spurt happens at the end of puberty. Between these two growth spurts the strength spurt increases muscle mass and broadens the shoulders. The largest disparity between physical strength in the body between males and females is in the upper body. Women are closer to men in the lower body, but not stronger in that area. Men have an estimated 50% more muscle mass in the lower body and 66% more in the upper body. The average woman’s body is estimated to be at least 35% muscle weight compared to men’s 50%.

Olympic Records in Weight Lifting – Maximum Lifts
Date Event Sex Achieved Name Category
2012 Snatch F 151kg Tatiana Kashirina 75kg+
2012 Clean & Jerk F 187kg Zhou Lulu 75kg+
2012 Total F 333kg Zhou Lulu 75kg+
2016 Snatch M 216kg Behdad Salimi 105kg+
2004 Clean & Jerk M 263kg Hossein Rezazadeh 105kg+
2016 Total M 473kg Lasha Talakhadze 105kg+
Highest Male Record Below Women’s Maximum
2000 Snatch M 138kg Halil Mutlu < 56kg
2012 Clean & Jerk M 177kg Óscar Figueroa < 62kg
2012 Total M 327kg Kim Un-guk < 62kg

This explains the difference in athletic performance. However, it should be realized that strength is not solely determined by biological sex. Age, genetics, health condition, and training method are also important factors. Women respond to training stimuli and can benefit from improved health. The reason why women  would have higher rates of osteoporosis is due to the fact that they have lower bone density. As a person ages they lose both muscle and skeletal mass. This could be more severe for a woman as she ages, Strength training can reverse such issues and preserve bone health. It is not impossible for a woman to be stronger than a man. It is unlikely that a woman would reach the same level of strength as a man on the same training program. This has to do with starting point. If males have lower body fat and more muscle prior to training this means their physical fitness capacity would be higher. If women natural strength is lower, that means they would be behind in terms of attempting to reach the same out put. Then there is the consideration of size. Men are taller and have larger frames, which correlates to housing more muscle on skeletal frame. Women relative to their size can see an improved level of strength.

Women’s muscles can experience hypertrophy, just not to the same degree as men. All men are obviously not stronger than all women. A woman who strength trains can at least reach or surpass the strength level of an average man. Somatotypes vary among both men and women. A woman with a mesomorphic body type could see far greater strength gains compared to a woman with an ectomorphic body type. While the weakest men are still stronger than the weakest women, it would seem unlikely that they could be stronger than the strongest woman.

It is clear that men do not have a monopoly on physical strength. The difference is in total amount of muscle composition. The difference means that there are some health implications.  Women will have a harder time losing weight and obesity could be a higher health risk for women. Men may be stronger, but that does not indicate superiority.

        Men have greater cardio vascular reserve compared to women. Lungs and the heart are bigger, which means greater lung volume per body mass. Men compared to women have a higher red blood cell count including higher hemoglobin. This means men can run faster than women. Oxygen is a crucial component to aerobic fitness and hemoglobin contributes to the transport. The difference in running speed is not only related to specific organs, it has to do with pelvic structure. Women’s wider pelvis reduce speed compared to men. Endocrinology and the changes in puberty also effect women’s fitness. A smaller heart means less blood is pumped. Women’s hearts are about 25% smaller compared to men’s hearts.

Men may also be able to run faster longer. Although men and women have the same muscles in the legs, the muscular composition is still more in the male lower body. Women have the advantage in terms of fat acting as an energy source. This becomes useful in ultramarathon events. While women can build impressive legs which aid in running men contain an estimated 80% muscle mass composition in the legs compared to women’s 60%. That 30% difference correlates to a slower run speed for women. The Vo2 max is even lower for females who are sedentary compared to men who are also.

There are differences in circulatory system health that effect women in different ways. Heart disease is a major health concern for both men and women as they age. Seeing as women live longer this means that the risk factor increases. Women’s heart disease occurs often later in life and can go undetected. Coronary heart disease in the United States claims men and women in equal numbers. This is related to weight, diet, and health habits. The reason there is a slight disparity in diagnosis is that most of the medical studies on heart disease were done on men.  Women do have lower blood pressure which gives them a level of protection from cardiovascular diseases prior to menopause. Women who do suffer heart attacks on average have them by age 70.

Many aliments can be avoided by a change in exercise and eating habits. The major problem is that many people are not getting enough physical activity. It is clear that too much sitting and inactivity has negative effects on the circulatory system.

         Mental health is just as important as physical health. There appears to be a disparity between men in women in this regard. Women are least likely to suffer from anti-social personality disorder, autism, tourette’s  syndrome,  and psychopathy . Men are least likely to suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and eating disorders. There seems to be questionable data in this regard. Examination within the US military demonstrates that both men and women can suffer PTSD at high rates. It should also be noted that the suicide rate among men is higher compared to women. This statistic could be distorted mainly because men often choose the most violent method to kill themselves compare to women. Men may be experiencing more psychological distress than what is reported. Cultures that value hyper machismo teach boys and men to suppress their  emotions, which could be deleterious to their mental health. The expression of dolorous emotion in such cultures causes men who do to be seen as weak or unstable. Women are free to express a wider range of emotions or feelings, because it fits within the gender cultural stereotype. Mental health does have biological causes, but environment can have an immense impact on well being. The problem also is that their is a stigma surrounding such illnesses. Eating disorder such as anorexia,bulimia, and binge eating are higher in women. This has more of an environmental basis with eating disorders being more prevalent in Western culture. The obsession with image and in particular the thin body type has caused these disorders to increase. It is more common in teenage girls and young women who at that stage in their live value physical attractiveness. The consumption of mass media images that present one version of the female body has caused women distress. It has only been a recent development that medical professionals are taking mental health seriously.

             Intelligence has been a constantly debated and controversial topic in psychology. One issue is the idea that intelligence can be measured. There continues to be bias against women and other ethnic groups in this regard. At one time it was claimed that men were smarter than women. Such claims like the correlation between race and intelligence have proven to be nothing more than pseudoscience. It is doubtful that intelligence can measured by a test or scale. Unlike scalars or vectors IQ may not even be a fixed  unit. Psychology and other sciences have not produced a specific definition for intelligence. It is at best a hypothetical construct. This is why the statement ” it has been suggested that the variance (or spread) in IQ scores is greater in men.” The text continues : “if this is true, there should be more men than women with an exceptionally high IQ.” This revelation written then claims that women should have less learning disabilities. Intelligence can vary from person to person and even putting it in a graphical set of data is a problem. To get a precise measure we would need to know what exactly intelligence is. Also all individuals who take such tests would need to have the same education level. The literacy rates of women are lower globally compared to men. Throughout human history women were denied access to an equal education and it was only in the 20th century that this was reversed. There still remains a disparity in education among the sexes.

It is not that girls are less intelligent or have learning disabilities. There is discrimination and societal pressure that holds them back.
The claim is that the majority of the population fall into a normal distribution of IQ scores.

Realizing this, the concept of IQ cannot survive the rigors of the scientific method. There are psychometric, cognitive, and  cultural theories of intelligence. The first IQ test was developed by Alfred Binet . The term IQ was only developed in 1914 by William Stern. Lewis Terman developed the IQ concept further by standardizing the Binet’s test for the US. These tests were developed around the period of eugenics and pseudoscientific biological racism. Sexism also was a part of this and a common falsehood was that women were not as intelligent as men. Male brains are contain larger volume, while it has been suggested that women have more cortical thickness. The brains of individuals vary regardless of sex, but this does not indicate men have more intelligence. Male and female brains are capable of great amounts of intelligence. Measuring it is may not be possible. Unlike height , which can be measured and defined ( the average man in America 175.8 cm tall compared to 162 cm for women)  intelligence seems more like an abstraction.


The brain is a complex organ that is involved in thoughts,problem solving, emotions, motivation, and organ function. Human evolution demonstrated that the genus homo species has been developing intelligence for millions of years. Intelligence being a measurable inherited unit  lacks cogency.  Saying men are more intelligent than women is not scientifically correct. While the root of intelligence could be based in the neo cortex  and frontal lobe, there is no method to measure it. IQ tests only show how well a person takes exams or which subjects they are more knowledgeable about.

         Women have an advantage when it comes to fighting infectious diseases. Women contain more white blood cells and produce  at a faster rate more antibodies. This is an advantage men do not have. What leukocytes do is act as a protector and guard for the body against infectious diseases or possibly harmful foreign substances.The body is strengthened by this.


There are multiple types of white blood cells which include lymphocytes, monocytes, basophil, eosinphil, and neutrophil. The body can be stronger in more ways than one. It seems women have the ability to handle disease better compared to men at least in terms of immune response. The preconception would be that men would be better at handling such infectious diseases or viruses. What is colloquially referred to as “man flu” may not be fiction. This means that women’s immune systems may be more robust compared to their male counterparts. Wrong is the assumption that just because men would have more physical strength, they would be better biological survivors. There is more than just one type of strength.

The reason women have this advantage could be related to microRNAs. These pieces of genetic material are responsible for silencing particular genes. The X chromosome which has microRNA located on it may give women an edge in terms of the immune system response. There could also be an explanation based on endocrinology. This research is still relatively new, so many elements are still unclear. Women survive trauma better, which could be rooted in a long evolutionary past.

       Men can father children into old age. Women’s reproductive capability ends with menopause. The reason for this is based on millions of years of primate evolution. According to Darwin’s theory of evolution there are traits that are naturally selected. The goal of organisms is to reproduce offspring so that certain genes and traits can be spread. Charles Darwin did not understand the mechanism that caused traits to spread. It was not until the science of genetics mad such understanding possible. Men have a reproductive advantage in this regard being able to father children in advanced age. Women have an advantage due to the fact they actually give birth. X  linked recessive disorders are rare in women . However, it appears that boys are more fragile at birth. Infant mortality is higher for boys compared to girls. This can be reduced through changes in healthcare,however it can still exist in developed nations. Nature may have made men more expendable, because female reproduction was just too important. Women have to keep the species going in this respect. The text is taking its analysis from an evolutionary psychological perspective. Environment cannot be ignored either. Psychological traits according to this perspective evolved out of adaptations in relation to natural selection and sex selection. This may explain behaviors such as promiscuity or human courtship behavior. Our ancestors adapted reproductive strategies for survival and some of these behaviors can be see today. The problem is observation and experimental procedure. It  is unknown how early humans behaved compared to modern humankind. This difference between male and female fertility does have an evolutionary basis.

       Environment does determine health outcomes. It is not only genetics that are a factor for why men have lower life expectancy. The gap is closing in developed countries to a degree with men being less involved in physical labor and women engaging in unhealthy habits. Smoking and drinking are still done, even when there is public knowledge of the health risk. Women may live longer as the article points out simply because they do not take as many risks. This translates to areas in the workforce that are considered dangerous. The military, police, construction, and firefighting are examples in which women’s total numbers are low. Discrimination is not the only answer, it has to do with choice. Women are not willing to risk danger to the same degree. Then there is biology. Physically demanding occupations require a certain level of fitness. Women would have to train harder to reach a particular fitness level compared to men that have more natural strength.

This would mean a difference in attrition rates in such physically demanding occupations. Despite the physiological and biological differences women have been able to become a part of such professions. Training can improve women’s performance. If is a matter of training, why are there not more women in these professions ? Some of this has to be based on an element of evolutionary psychology. There may be an instinctual drive that alerts women not to take risk. If survival depended on reproduction of the species, taking unnecessary risks was not worth it. There also could be an evolutionary psychological explanation of why more women are not involved in the fields of science and information technology. Women can be just as intelligent as men, however there may be certain way the male brain is wired. Men may have more of a preference for mechanical and technological related topics, because building was part of their evolutionary past. Traditionally, women have been excluded from such professions and unequal amounts of education, put them at a disadvantage. This also translates to human health. Having inadequate healthcare, limited hospitals, or a reduction of reproductive rights negatively effects health outcomes. then there could be public health crisis that effect an entire population. An epidemic or pandemic could effect life expectancy. Drug addiction outbreaks such as the opioid issue in the US is currently reducing life expectancy. A dramatic change in environment can change health outcomes.

           The article concludes with the statement that “so at least in biological terms,there is no clear winner between the sexes. Considering that data known and what has yet to be learned that may not be an accurate conclusion. Women have more durational strength. Men’s greater physical fitness capacity would indicate they would be biologically stronger, but total life expectancy tells otherwise. Sex differences do influence health or possible illness. Women consistently show that they are survivors in many cases. Women even outlive men when conditions are stable. From a biomedical standpoint there does not exist a stronger sex, but it seems women win the test of longevity.

Nature does not dictate a battle of the sexes, because compatibility was needed for survival. Women’s durability was to ensure that off spring would be successful in the environments in which early primate species lived.  Humanity now has reached a level in which it can manipulate its own health and biology. The rise of antibiotics, scientific surgery, and a genetic understanding of disease has vastly improved health outcomes. Men still lag behind in terms of life span. Many women also have medical issues in regards to breast cancer and access to contraception. The author Neel Burton has a background medicine, seeing as he is a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are not the same as psychologists, because they take a medical perspective on mental illness with the belief it can be cured. Burton should realize that women from a biological view would be the winners, based on the rate of survival. This does not mean one sex is biologically superior . Misogynists often claim that the biological and physiological differences of women mean they are inferior. Difference is not an indication of inferiority. Sexual dimorphism is the product of evolution and environmental adaptation. Scientifically there is no way to test for biological inferiority or superiority. What can be concluded is that women might be stronger than previously thought.

Psychology Today : Battle of the Sexes

Why Getting Physically Stronger Will Help You Live Longer

Strength and Health

As the body ages it goes through a number of changes in its organ systems. The muscular system, skeletal system, and nervous system do change with senescence. Disease and age related conditions can be common, but there is a method that can maintain quality health.  Strength training can help maintain a healthy body. It is more than just a training method for elite athletes. This is more than a fitness fad, but a possible method to avoid chronic illness. The changes that occur in the human life cycle. Seeing as the average life expectancy will increase, it is pivotal to be mindful of health. This is important for women who on average will outlive men. There are normally more women who reach old age compared to males. There are health differences among the sexes, which have implications for the future. Biological and physiological differences must be accounted for when examining health. Women often would avoid strength training for fear of getting bigger, yet this has changed. Women can still see benefits form training.  Strength training should be a major part of a person’s fitness regimen. There has finally been a scientific investigation into how building strength is critical to general health.

      As the human body ages it loses its physical strength. The majority of people reach their physical fitness peak between the  ages  of 20 to 39. This also is influenced by a number of genetic factors and health habits. Some of the decline can be reversed with doing weight training later in life. It is never too late to start. Ectomorphs compared to mesomorphs would probably see a larger loss in muscular strength. Starting out with less means loss in muscle mass would have a larger impact. Those with endomorphic body types may struggle to maintain a healthy weight. The other  factor is diet. The prevalence of  high amounts of sugar and fats is contributing to poor health. Extreme declines in strength happen in the octogenarians and nonagenarians. There comes weight loss and frailty which effects the body as a whole. Decreased mobility, loss of balance, and possibly disability can occur.  Elderly people are at risk of falls, which could result in major bone injuries. Fatigue and slower walking are also symptoms of physical frailty.

Physical activity is not just for the young. Older people should incorporate exercise into their daily routines. 

Gerontologists and biologists have suspected that aging is the result of  particular factors. Mitochondria as the human body lives become weaker with the passage of time. This organelle in the cells of the human body is a valuable power source. Cells are the building blocks of organ systems. A change in mitochondria would mean as we age decreased levels of stamina, strength, and endurance. The body goes through metabolic changes with age. Chromosomes are also effected with age. The enzyme known as telomerase is responsible for repair and maintenance of caps on the ends of chromosomes. This plays a role in cell division and when telomerase can no longer be produced in the same amount, mitosis is effected.

info_telomeres     Telomerase has to build telomeres so that it can prevent shortening by adding DNA each time a cell divides. There are mechanisms in place to maintain and control cell growth throughout a life time. This also provides an explanation into the production of cancer cells. Tumors that appear on the human body occur when telomeres are too active. Cells replicate alone with no supervision. Each time a cell divides telomeres become shorter, which lead to cell death. There are only so many times that the body can do this over long life span.



It is hard to image that the body is made of a multitude of cells. The human body functions like an organic machine. 

There are changes that occur both on the genetic and organ system level. The endocrine changes with age means that testosterone will decrease in males and estrogen in females. Testosterone plays a role in muscular hypertrophy so the strength loss would be more dramatic in males. The endocrine system difference in terms of hormones has an implication for physical fitness between males and females. Men have greater strength due to higher levels of free testosterone. Women produce more estrogen and progesterone which allows for more storage of fat. This means women would have a harder time losing weight or fighting obesity. Muscle has the ability to burn more fat. Besides this difference in health, the skeletal system changes with age. The effects of puberty increase male bone density, where this spurt of strength does not occur in females. This means women would be at higher risk for osteoporosis. If women have lower bone density and bone mass decreases with age this becomes a serious health risk . Strength training can be a means of maintaining  and building bone mass. Women need weight training because of this biological and physiological difference.

Women have more durational strength. This means they can live longer compared to males even when the environment is perfectly stable for both sexes. While women do not have the same physical strength levels as a man who engages in the same activity women can build strength. The article claims that “bulking up is a myth.” Women are capable of muscular hypertrophy it is not to the same extent as a man. The term “bulky” does not accurately describe the transformation of the body through weight training. Women respond to training stimuli, however the difference is in starting point. If men have a different body composition it would seem as if they gain at a faster rate. This is not true, it appears that way because the amount of muscle in their bodies prior to training is higher. Women who have less to start with gain at a similar rate. Some muscle may be good for the female body. Strength training can prevent skeletal diseases that could effect mobility. There is still more to be learned about these developments in health science and biology, but studies and data are providing some clues.

         Two studies from the British Medical Journal revealed that lack of  muscular  strength could be a strong indicator of mortality. It claimed this even when other health factors were adjusted  as well as for cardiorespiratory fitness. A total of 30 studies were conducted using people who were in their 70s. Only five people under the age 60 were used in the study. Researchers measured bench press strength, grip strength, walking speed, chair rising speed, and standing balance. What they concluded was that poor performance in any of these categories increased the possibility of early mortality. Before one takes the study as fact, these results would have to be replicated. Another problem arises when sex differences are not factored into the experiment. It should be clear that women’s performance on upper body tasks would be considerably lower. Hand grip strength does not seem like the best measure to be using. If that measure were to be included, by obvious logic men should be living longer than women. Male hand grip strength is on average greater than women’s.


man-and-woman-strength col1

This does not translate to functional strength. Although it does suggest provide a basic estimate of physical strength capabilities. The weakest woman is still weaker than the weakest man. The strongest woman does not reach the highest levels of male strength. The charts above are not as accurate at measuring absolute strength. While it did produce a result that was expected with the female athlete having close to or equal strength of an average male, it is possible that men could generate more force simply because their hands are bigger. A woman who participated in the study may have more functional strength, but may have failed to generate more force in the study conducted by the Journal of Applied Physiology. That study used handballers rather than weightlifters. Looking at weight lifting records may be more accurate compared to grip strength. While the studies from the British Medical Journal do use bench press as a measure this also causes another problem. Men have more upper body mass and a larger skeletal frame. That means the data would be distorted, because even physically fit women cannot not match the upper body strength of a man who is on the same training regimen. Women who could be of various fitness levels still live longer than men. The study referenced to only examined men, but did not do the same for women. It is possible that a man who is physically weak could outlive one that is very strong. There are many factors that influence longevity which include genetics, general health condition, diet, environment,  and the amount of physical activity an individual gets.  This can also hold true for women.

It would be hard to predict which one of these women would live the longest. Using strength solely would not provide precision. 

Factors related to environment can be just as essential. Access to reliable healthcare and a healthy diet can increase health outcomes. Men’s health outcomes may be lower due to sociological factors. On average, the male suicide and homicide rate is higher. This is another factor related to surroundings rather than biology. Muscular strength may not be the best indicator of future morality. Standing balance, chair rising speed and walking speed seem to be better in that regard. They give better measurements of functional strength and movements. The British Medical Journal could be rushing to conclusions. At worse it making a generalization based on a sample. Simply being strong and building strength does not automatically mean a person will live longer. What getting stronger can do is improve quality of life and physical fitness condition. Implying it can be some form of life extension is a bit of an exaggeration.

       There is no doubt that weight training can improve health. There is the claim mentioned that weight training can add six to seven years on to one’s life, but this should also be questioned. Everyone does not respond the same to a particular training regimen. Health condition varies among people. Genetically inherited diseases or other conditions can effect human life span. However, it seems that exercise is capable of mitochondrial rejuvenation. Resistance training can induce the activation of satellite cells. This initiates gene shifting in which can revive mitochondria. It appears the even older muscles if worked can be turned back physiologically, genetically, and biochemical. Telomerase  production can be maintained by exercise. There is also a link to production of antioxidants. These are molecules that stop the damage that could be done by free radicals. They are mostly found in fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C. E, Lycopene, selenium, lutein,  beta-carotene  and many other molecules. There is also indication that exercise can stop cognitive decline. The reason may be that a healthy circulatory system can protect the brain. Stroke, heart disease, and high cholesterol can cause major health issues across the  body. When there is a disturbance in the arteries of the brain, this could cause dementia. Specifically multi-infarct dementia develops from blood clots that cause blockage in the blood vessels of the brain. The result is reduced oxygen to the brain causing death of tissue.

Brain arteries


The circulatory system functions like a highway. If there is a clot, that is the equivalent of a traffic accident. The problem is that there is no alternative route. If cars were to just keep piling up it would be a chronic mess. The blood supply being moved does not have an alternative path adding to the complications. Maintaining a healthy circulatory system is essential to overall health.  Heart disease and high blood pressure become more of a health risk  if one’s diet consists of fat and sugar based foods. Inactivity contributes along with poor diet. Exercise is not only important to longevity, but also quality of life. Weight training is just one type of exercise that can improve health.

     It should be realized that these studies do not mean weight training is the best form of exercise. The articles suggests that all forms of exercise are not equal. Yet, any amount is better than none at all. A training regimen depends on what one wants to accomplish in their fitness goals. This does not mean weight training should be the only form of exercise performed. Walking, aerobics, or running could be options. Although too much of one form or the other could cause problems or the possibility of over training. Doing aerobics does not increase muscle. Doing cardio does not burn fat as effectively. If a person is sticking to one exercise, they are neglecting other elements of physical fitness. There are some misconceptions that need to be addressed. Healthcare and medical professionals suggest that seniors avoid strenuous activity, yet seniors should exercise with in their limits. An exercise session does not have to mimic an Olympic athlete’s. Elders benefit from gene shifting, which means improvements in health. There are also benefits to mental health, which fight depression. While physical health is important, mental health biomedical science has now realized is just as critical. There is a link between exercise and the release of endorphins, which can improve a person’s emotional state.

Women have the most to benefit from strength training. There remains a fear of looking “too muscular” which prevents women from engaging in weight training. Appearance is a matter of preference and its should not be dictated by society’s standards. Women should not fear having some muscle on their bodies. No one just looks like a professional bodybuilder by just lifting weights casually. It also is the same for any other sport. Giving women basketballs does not automatically turn them into SKylar Diggins Smith , There are women with the capability to gain more than others, but this is not a characteristic that should be condemned. The point of exercise is too improve health, not for the purpose appearance. Women must learn to overcome body image issues for the sake of their mental and physical health.

The great aspect about a new emphasis om fitness and physical activity is that it is now acceptable for women to be active. While its been proven weight training can improve elements of health and fitness it is still questionable that it can make people live longer. If this were so, there would have to be an experiment conducted in nations with either  high and low life expectancy. There are numerous reasons why life expectancy increased globally since 1970. Medical advancements such as the end of defeat of smallpox and the development of the artificial heart  as well as organ transplants are few examples. State healthcare systems and improved public health measures have contributed to improving world health. Yet, there are challenges such as global pandemics like AIDS or antibiotic resistant bacteria. Many countries around the world do not have the economic resources to provide a functioning healthcare system or adequate hospitals. Socioeconomic status also effects health, with people in poverty struggling to afford medical care.


Japan has the highest average life expectancy, with the the highest portion of centenarians. If the hypothesis is correct, if weight training was part of the average Japanese citizen’s life, the life span should go beyond the age 100. The study would not just involve males, but females. They should be study closely, seeing as on average women tend to live longer. Knowing this, it would mean a change could be seen if such an experiment were to be conducted. If the average life expectancy of a Japanese woman citizen is 86.1 years, that should increase if the assumption weight training can make a person live longer. Then a comparison should be made with countries with the lowest life expectancy.  Afghanistan and Chad have some of the world’s lowest life expectancy which is calculated below fifty years of age. Here is the trouble with making an experiment. Certain aspects would have to be controlled to get a precise set of data. Environments would have to be favorable meaning the same level of public health, be free of warfare, and functional medical facilities. The subjects would have to be of a similar health condition. South America’s nations have life expectancy that is either high or low. Conducting the experiment on this continent  may produce a result that may give a precise answer.  Weight training may improve health, but how long you live also depends on other factors. Genetics can be an element including environment. Then lifestyle choices and health habits can alter the condition of health over a lifetime. An individual that engages in smoking, excessive drinking, or overeating is increasing their risk factors for chronic illness. While it can be debated that  simply getting stronger will increase your lifespan, it is a method of preventing diseases of the skeletal, muscular, circulatory, and nervous system.

Why Getting Physically Stronger Will Help You Live Longer

Physically Fit Recruits Are Hard To Find

Not Fit Enough

A recent study has shown that a large portion of the American population is not physically fit enough for military service. Obesity and lack of exercise are culprits in this health and military issue. The interesting discovery is that the people with the worse fitness were in the South. This has been traditionally the largest area of military recruitment. Compared to other parts of the country, it demonstrates a disparity in health. Unfit recruits are more at risk for injury. The report done by the US military ( by researchers at Citadel Military College) wanted to determine if certain states could be a burden in terms of military readiness. They used body mass index as an indicator, however this measurement can be misleading. Cardiovascular measurement seems to have more precision. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured with incidents in relation to injury during training. The examination used Spearman correlations. While it is true the US has a weight problem, this can be reversed. Doing so will solve high injury rates in military recruits.

       The use of the body mass index for the study may not be the best measuring tool. BMI can classify people who are muscular as being overweight. It also can classify individuals who are thin as being underweight. The study was unclear about the morphic body types of the populations surveyed. The southeastern region which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia ,Texas, Tennessee, North and South Carolina had people who were in worse shape compared to other regions of the US. Some of the people in the data may not have a weight problem. People with endomorphic body types are not technically obese. Their body fat levels are higher, but it is not enough to have a deleterious effect on health. Knowing this it means that some of the data is more of an approximation.

Adding weight to the body will not always result in poor health. Women who are now joining the  military understood that they needed the strength to do certain task. However, when doing weight training they added mass in terms of muscle, which pushed some women out of the weight range. The Marines reversed this decision and women can be at a higher weight. Using the calculation of BMI its flaws can be seen.

 Margie Martin and Colette Nelson’s BMI provides an inaccurate picture. Margie would have a BMI of 27.4 and Colette stands in the 29.11. Both values are in the overweight range of the chart. They are not overweight, because they just have more muscle mass. The BMI scale does not account for different body  types.Although the BMI is not a great clinical tool it is obvious that Americans are suffering from obesity and weight related illnesses. According to the CDC there  is a 35% rate of obesity in the South. This increase is dramatic compared to previous decades.  America now has a poor diet that consists of sugar and high fat. Simultaneously, Americans are getting less physical activity. These are contributors to a growing public health problem. This explains why the injury rate increased 28% among the least fit states.

        The problem is that the military does not examine the issue from a physical fitness perspective. Besides just being overweight, many may not be in shape. Men and women who are not active, but do not have weight problems would probably have injuries. This is proven by the fact the report shows that even the recruits from fit states had injuries increase by 22%. Physical fitness capacity varies depending on health condition, genetics,Somatotype,  and sex. A person who is obese or overweight is going to have circulatory or skeletal joint issues. Strenuous work would be difficult and it makes it harder carrying excess fat on the body. The opposite end of the spectrum is the ectomorphic body type. Thinner people would have trouble doing tasks that require large amounts of physical strength.

 The man pictured is not overweight, but may not be in the best of physical shape. The lady however is at a high physical fitness level and would have an easier time meeting physical demands. 

Sex becomes another factor in military physical fitness. Due to biological and physiological differences the total physical fitness capacity is higher in men. Men are on average stronger than women due to endocrinology, body composition, and difference in body size. Men have more skeletal and muscle mass. Testosterone allows for a higher rate of protein synthesis. Protein is essential for muscular hypertrophy, but that is not the sole factor. Insulin growth like factor 1 and human growth hormone play roles in muscular hypertrophy other than just sex hormones. Aerobic capacity differs due to the fact men have larger lungs and hearts. Women would run slower due to the shape of their pelvis and the difference in the rate tissues are oxygenated. The difference in hemoglobin between men and women is also a factor in physical fitness. What this means is that there will probably be more men in combat jobs, even though more are open to women. Women’s numbers may continue to remain smaller. Lowering standards is not a solution. It means women will have to train to meet the physical fitness standards. If the average woman has lower physical fitness capacity, that means she will have to train harder to reach a particular level compared to a man.

These men and women shown are fit, but the average American does not exercise as much as they do. 

Women would have to train before attempting basic training to prevent injury. Women’s injury rates are higher due to the influence of sexual dimorphism. Relevant to obesity women are at higher risk and would find it more difficult to lose weight. Women have higher fat percentages due to estrogen and progesterone. Despite these differences weight training can increase a woman’s strength. During World War II only 50% of young men were qualified to join. Today even with the expanding roles of women in the service it has dropped to 23%. The number may also be a dramatic shift due to the fact it includes people without a high school diploma and a criminal record. It seems that allowing women in combat is a wise decision if the recruitment selection becomes low. While physical fitness is important, a woman or a man does not have to be Rambo or GI Jane to become a soldier.

The mental aspect is also a pivotal element. Then there is translation onto the battlefield. Collaboration and coordination are keys to a successful fighting unit. This means each soldier pulls their own weight and fulfills obligations as needed. There is also the factor of leadership and tactics. Soldiers even though some armies have the benefit of modern technology still need to be in an optimum health condition .This does not mean just being fit and strong will win wars. There were many powerful nations, states, and empires that should have won conflicts, because their armies were strong. Germany by examining its military strength could have won World War II. The United States from the strength of its army should have won Vietnam. The Roman Empire did not fall because of military defeat, but due to internal corruption and a series of weak emperors. The barbarian invasions were just another small nail in the imperial coffin.The US could have a military of the strongest men and women ever, but that does not guarantee victory.

Just being strong and fit does not produce a high quality soldier. It takes the acquisition of numerous skills in combat and survival to do so.  Maria Anderson is a major general  and  matched against Kristy Hawkins , kristy would not be prepared because she does not have military training.  

It is an exaggeration to say America’s lack of physical fitness is a national security risk . The US military will have to get recruits to enjoy physical activity and learn to control eating habits. There is also another factor that should be considered. If there were to be a draft of women they would need an extensive physical training program. The average woman’s upper body strength is lower and doing exercises that target those muscle groups is essential. The obese and overweight would have to go through a weight management program to meet before going into basic training. Drafting women would have challenges simply because of differences in physiology. It would most likely take longer to get the unfit into shape. Although it would be longer, there would be more soldiers at the end of the process.

The average woman would struggle to meet physical demands. The female athlete would not have such problems. If women had programs specifically designed to increase their physical fitness levels this would reduce complications of a draft of women. 

The portion of  people eligible for the selective service may decrease unless a new policy is implemented. The US military should employ personal trainers who task is for focusing on soldier fitness and health. Educating recruits about diet and exercise may help reduce  the amount of injuries. The task will be difficult. Physically demanding occupations do have an attrition rate for employees. Age and strain will eventually take its toll on the body. That is why it is preferred to get younger recruits between the ages of 18 to 49. As seen from higher performing athletes men and women reach their physical peak in their 30s. Training can reduce age related decline to an extent. Understanding fitness can prevent permanent or short term injuries in basic training.

        A improvement in the American public’s health must start at an early age. This includes putting an emphasis on physical education, healthy diet, and a new attitude in regards to exercise and physical activity. Many may be turned off at the thought of physical activity, because a sedentary lifestyle is all they know. The first step involves improving physical education. Children will start to develop their attitudes in regards to exercise first in a PE class. Making PE fun and amusing will get children moving as well as developing a positive attitude in relation to physical activity. Doing this would make the children who become adults maintain health, if these habits are reinforced.

Mark Herling a retired three star general stated that “recruiting challenges are going to get tougher for the military.” 

Making a gym class an unpleasant atmosphere will influence children for life. They will associate exercise and physical activity with something negative. There also needs to be another issue addressed with physical education. Girls are not encouraged to exercise as much as boys. Even at a young age their standards are lower. At this point there are very little physiological differences prior to puberty, so having lower standards in terms of physical activity makes no sense. The sexist notions about women’s physical capabilities still remain present in physical educator’s minds. This can impact women worse. If women have lower bone density and rarely do anything to build it they risk higher rates of osteoporosis. Simultaneously, there remains a cultural bias in terms of women’s roles. The backward notion that women developing strength and physical skill is unfeminine must be discarded. Exercise, sports, and fitness are viewed as a male only pursuit. While this has gradually changed with more women involved in sports and the passage of Title IX  there is more to be done. Besides obvious bias and discrimination, women will have to change their attitude as well. There are some women who shun any form of physical activity. They do this even with simple tasks such as opening a jar or shoveling snow. The idea that there will be a man there to do something for you will not always be the case. Women should learn to embrace exercise and develop physical competence. A dramatic shift has to be made in terms of attitudes toward exercise. This must be done, because it appears that American society is beginning to see obesity and be overweight as normal. The strange element is that fat acceptance has evolved into a movement. The reason this probably emerged is because of the weight loss industry presenting another unhealthy image of  extra thin body type.

 Body size is not the sole factor in determining health, but carrying excess weight can cause health problems. The skeleton will suffer extra strain combined with a circulatory system vulnerable to heart disease. Depending on the individual’s diet, there could be a risk of diabetes. Fat acceptance may not be the best for health. When living in a country of abundance it is simple to over indulge. Food, smoking, and alcohol are commonly over consumed. People must learn restraint and self-control to solve weight issues. There is a psychological element to changing habits. It must be done with the encouragement of friends, family,doctors, or fitness professionals. Shaming or scolding a person will only result in failure; positive reinforcement and motivation will be a pathway to success. There should also be a revision of goals. The sole purpose should not be only loss of weight, but rather improving physical fitness capacity as well as maintaining an active lifestyle. Clients may go on diets lose weight, then regain it. They may become discouraged attempt multiple times or simply quit. The only way improvement in health can remain permanent is that behaviors and lifestyle changes are persistent.

    Rather than just losing weight one should seek to improve overall physical fitness.

The most difficult part of this is maintaining a healthy diet. The nation is filled with fast food restaurants and supermarkets filled with junk food. To say that it is entirely  an individuals fault for weight related problems is not true. Healthy food such as fruits and vegetables cost more compared to junk food. The high obesity rates in the South could reflect the dire economic situation of that region of the USA.  Poor families would not be able to afford healthier food. The combination of poor diet and limited access to healthcare or reasonably price insurance means life expectancy could decrease.

If affordable healthcare is under attack and could be dismantled it will have devastating consequences on public health in the future. 

If obesity and weight related illness becomes so immense the government will have to act. The conservatives and far-right Republicans claim to be pro-military, but rarely do anything to address this issue or veteran’s needs. The only solution to a population that is less fit is to encourage exercise. This will have to be done at the state and federal level. Building better sidewalks to encourage walking is a start. The construction of recreation centers and parks may also encourage physical activity. The UK has experimented with putting taxes on drinks high in sugar. Office buildings are adopting standing desks. The data gathered from this study was accumulated between the years of 2010 to 2013 and  ever since there has not been any major change to policy.  It was reported in 2005 each soldier lost to attrition cost the government up to $31,000. If ignored expenses will only increase. The wider population may become a financial burden with mass decline in health.  The Department of Health and Human Services should take this matter seriously. Only a public policy based solution and address the rapid decline of health and fitness.

Physically Fit Recruits Are Hard To Find

Are Women Really Stronger Than Men ? When It Comes To Longevity, Surviving Illness And Coping With Trauma

The weaker sex? Science that shows women are stronger than men

Physically men on average are stronger, but in terms of durational strength women have an advantage. It has been confirmed, that women live longer than men and may cope better with illness including trauma. There is a gap in terms of old age between men and women. The article from The Guardian examines how there are sex differences in aging and how it relates to overall health. Gerontology seeks to study and explain the process of senescence. Biological aging and death are still a mystery. Biomedical science has not studied women in a serious manner, but that has began to change. Such examinations may hold the key to prolonging life and fighting age related diseases. The information written in the text comes from the Centre for Study on Sex Differences in Health, Aging, and Disease and the Gerontology Research Group. It was once believed that men were better suited for survival, because they were biologically tougher. This was a myth based on gender stereotypes. Medicine had  a tradition of casting the female body as inferior or an object that needed to be controlled. Research has shown that women are not biological inferiors, but have evolved to be survivors.

            The research demonstrates there exists two types of strength. Physical strength which is the level of exertion and force that a person can induce upon an object. Durational strength is how long a person  can live in total years. It is dependent on health condition, genetics, and environment. Steven Austad describes women’s total life expectancy as being more robust. The biologist who is an international expert on aging discovered from his findings that women lived six years longer than men. This would indicate that women on average have higher durational strength. Unlike what Angela Saini claims “the physically strong woman is almost a  myth” there is more to the human body and the science behind it. The female body is more capable of amazing feats than once believed by exercise physiologists. Women historically were restricted in using or having control of their bodies. Physical power and fitness are not male only. The frailty myth was born out of 19th century Victorian Age pseudoscience. It stated women need more rest when they reached puberty and that too much exercise would damage their reproductive organs. There was also a sexist bias in terms of what was considered gender appropriate. Since then, women have gain more opportunities to play sports and engage in physical activity. The false claims were discredited and a change occurred. The only reason female athletes are “gazed upon as other worldly creatures” has to do with people’s view of gender and the female body. Cultural perceptions of the the female body being weaker or women lacking physical competence was common place. Now this perception is shifting and with new information in regards to health it seems arguments of women’s biological inferiority are nothing more than fantasies.

The reason people feel “they break the laws of nature” has to do with sex based biases. There are people who still believe that sport is not proper for a woman. There has been a change in attitude in regards to women, exercise, and health. Strength sports specifically, women are becoming more involved in. Even the “everyday woman” has taken a interest in exercise, not just the professional athlete. Robustness, toughness, and physical power are associated with the male body, but not out of women’s reach. The physical strength difference is based on the size and endocrinology of the male physique. However, this does not mean men will live longer than women. Denser bones and more muscle mass of men means they will not be as susceptible to osteoporosis. That is one health difference that is based on sex. What must be understood about physical fitness is that men have higher capacity. Women’s bodies do respond to training an they can increase fitness levels. Men have a higher physical fitness capacity for strength, but this does not indicate a form of superiority. What it reveals is a long evolutionary history still being shaped by genetics and constantly changing environments.

      Women have a greater chance of living to old age than men. According to The Gerontology Research Group there are only 43 people today who have lived past the age of 110.  Women account for 42 of the group, with one man being the survivor. Violet Brown holds the record of the oldest person being 117. She was born in 1900 and pasted away in 2017. It is a mystery why nature has made men expendable in this regard. Durational strength does not emerge later in life, but starts with the gestation process. Boys are more likely to die when being delivered. Even when healthcare is the same quality, boys are at a 10% risk factor. Research produced from the University of Adelaide indicated that depending on the sex of the baby the placenta may behave differently. The body reacts by bolstering the power of the immune system and girls may get the most benefit. The reason girls and women are protected may have to do with evolution. Reproductive strategies for some organisms involve the female producing large amounts of young. This would mean the female of that species would have to be larger to carry eggs. This can be seen in arachnids and species of birds. Seeing as women give birth to only one child  or just a few more ( twins, triplets, or quintuplets), survival of the female would be more critical. They birth offspring and this method seems more efficient than having young all at once. This is a possible explanation why their is sexual dimorphism in primates. This also includes homo sapiens who do have a level of sexual dimorphism. It can be flexible to a degree. Most men are taller than women, but there are tall women. Obviously, there are women who are stronger than many men.

There is a level of genetic diversity among people, which results in variation. A possible method would to solving this puzzle is to examine the life span of primates such as gorillas or chimpanzees. More information could be extracted from chimpanzees seeing as human beings are closer to that ape genetically. If the females of these apes lives longer then that means women’s longevity does have an evolutionary basis. This could mean the reason girls survive even in the early stages has a genetic basis.

        Both men and women are vulnerable to disease, but women may fare better. Infections and common colds women cam handle better in terms of immune response.   Cardiovascular disease occurs much sooner in men than it does women. Hypertension also a major culprit to health showed a distinct sex difference. Men get high blood pressure earlier. This could not only be a genetic factor, but environment as well as habit based. Americans are becoming more sedentary and getting less physical activity. Combined with high sugar and fat based diets, this will cause problems with cardiovascular health. Exercise and a healthy diet is the best method to avoid cardiovascular disease. The findings of Austud revealed in 2010 that women died at lower rates from heart disease and cancer. Men and women were both equal in terms of likelihood of dying of a stroke or Parkinson’s disease. One problem specific to women comes with longevity. The longer one lives the possibility of  neurodengenrative disease increases. Women are more likely to die from Alzheimer’s disease. A powerful immune system also comes with a price. Women are more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Autoimmune diseases are when the immune system attacks cells that are healthy in the body. Women’s immune systems have to be flexible for pregnancy. That is why a woman’s immune system is more active during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Immune response is also related to endocrine function by estrogen and progesterone. It seems that exercise, diet, and general habits can prevent many diseases.

There are genetic and biological factors that determine health. The environmental element is also critical to an individual’s life expectancy. Then there has to be some recognition of how disease and healthcare functions. The medical profession puts an emphasis on prevention, rather than investing in cures. There is too much reliance on drugs for certain aliments that could be addressed with a change in diet and lifestyle. Only recently have doctors been seeing the connection between mental states and physical health. Mental health is just as important as physical health. There has been in the US an increase in mental health disorders, notably bipolar depression. The text does not mention how mental health differs between the sexes. This is a topic that is significant, because a person changes psychologically over a lifetime. The body needs exercise. The brain also requires it. Learning new things or being active may help prevent cognitive decline.

There still is not an exact reason for why some get Alzheimer’s disease. Only theories are proposed for this age related disease. The death of brain cells indicates as well as other forms of dementia that human beings have a cellular limit. Mitosis changes over the span of the human life cycle resulting in dying cells not easily being replaced in various organ systems. Oxidative stress from free radicals will take its toll as a person ages. The only reason it appears more women are ill is because more of them survive. Advanced age women out number advanced aged men.

        There are sociological reasons for the difference in longevity. Women are most likely willing to make regular doctors appointments. Men do not do this as frequently, which may result in late diagnosis of chronic illness. It seems in some societies women take the condition of their health more seriously. Men may also eat more unhealthy diets. This may not be entirely true, because if men and women have access to the same food their diets would not be that different. Then another problem would be buying such food. Junk food is by comparison cheaper compared to nutritious alternatives, which may also cause a disparity in health relative to socioeconomic status. The poor or discriminated ethnic groups in a particular country often suffer from lack of medical treatment or adequate healthcare. Life expectancy is lowered by terrible socioeconomic conditions. Affordable healthcare is still out of reach for many of the world’s population. The disparity even extends to geography. Western nations have higher life expectancy mainly due to the fact they have government run programs and the infrastructure to support it. The United States is one of the few industrialized nations that does not want to provide a government run healthcare system. The Affordable Care Act was designed to get people insured who otherwise would not have had healthcare. There is also a divide between rural and urban communities. Rural healthcare is low quality with few hospitals and few options in terms of healthcare plans. Women may also benefit from a difference in behavior. Men are more willing to work jobs that are more dangerous. This does not women would not  work these jobs, but their numbers a smaller in comparison.

This difference in risk taking and to a degree competition may harm attempts at creating full equality. Combat positions have been open to women in the US, yet in some areas of the military women have not signed up. This debate comes down to nature versus nurture. The question should not be nature versus nurture. The mystery is how much do nature and nurture collaborate. Granted many women may not be able to fill such positions that are physically demanding due to the difference in physical fitness capacity. Yet, there still is discrimination that is present, even with laws prohibiting it. Women are also discouraged at a young age from going into particular fields. That is just one paradigm of the nature and nurture collaboration. Men are also taught to do things that are deleterious to their well being. The machismo around “proving ones” self leads to perilous situations or confrontations. Men may overwork themselves in pursuit of prestige or to up hold the role of leader of the community. Placing extra burden on themselves can cause health problems later in life. The lugubrious reality is that men inflict more violence on other men.  This can be seen in crime statistics. Warfare puts men at a disadvantage, because they will be drafted. Sociological factors such as geography, healthcare, or occupation can effect longevity.

         Hunter gatherer societies may allow for a hypothesis  why women were given the edge in longevity. Women probably in the ancient past did the same amount of physical work as their male counter parts. Women most likely had to do physical work along with childcare. The need for durational strength was a necessity. Women’s talent for endurance running reveals that women were probably more physical in the past, because it was pertaining to survival. When the rise of permanent settlement changed women’s health and physiques. The bones and muscles shrunk in terms of mass after the Paleolithic and Neolithic Ages. Women’s endurance can best be described as an adaptation to environment. The migration out of Africa was a vigorous journey. That endurance  not only protected women, but the young they were carrying. Saini poses the question why are we all nor amazons? The answer is lucid, when looking at other people. There is variation in human populations. This can range from height to skin color and body type.

Human beings do not all look the same because our phenotypes vary due to genetics and environment. The association of the female body being small and waif like seems to be a modern day invention. The article does expose that ideas does not represent reality. There are countries today were women are involved in physically demanding labor. A majority of women in the Global South are employed in agriculture. There are more women going into sports, law enforcement, construction, the military, and occupations that were considered male only. There is not only biological evolution, but cultural evolution. The cultural evolution is the change of women’s roles through history. One change was the improvement of women’s health. Childbirth was in the past could mean for women possible death. Women now have safer medical treatment for childbirth. There still are disparities in terms of infant mortality. What can be extrapolated from this data and evolutionary history is that there is no such thing as a weaker sex. Trying to prove  that a weaker sex is real would not survive the test of the scientific method. Although women do live longer and have more durational strength, there are issues surrounding women’s health. Access to contraception, healthcare, and higher rates of breast cancer are persistent threats. Women still remain the long time survivors.

Are Women Really Stronger Than Men ? When It Comes To Longevity, Surviving Illness And Coping With Trauma