Man vs woman

I attended Vestal High School in upstate New York during the late 1960s. At that time we had some of the best high school athletic teams in New York State. There were no interscholastic athletic programs for girls, however. While I had some excellent sports experiences, my wife had no opportunities for athletic competition. It was simply assumed that high school girls did not have the physical or emotional capacity to participate in competitive sports.

Although girls were required to attend physical education classes, they had the impression that vigorous exercise and competitive sports participation were male activities. The boys did physical conditioning programs in preparation for sports competition, but the girls never had this experience. They were considered the weaker sex, and they had little opportunity to change this perception.

Today, we know that the most important physical activity for women in their 40s and above is sensible strength training. Progressive resistance exercise is clearly the best means for maintaining muscle mass and bone density during the midlife years, and is especially significant for post-menopausal women.

Unfortunately, many women in this age range are convinced that they are indeed the weaker sex, that they do not have the physical ability to develop more strength, and that strength training may actually be detrimental to their musculoskeletal system. These assumptions are categorically untrue, and need to be corrected.

In fact, women are not the weaker sex. They have the physical ability to develop their strength, and strength training is highly-beneficial to their musculoskeletal system. Women need to recognize that they lose over 6 pounds of muscle tissue in every decade of adult life (Evans and Rosenberg 1991). Yet our research shows that women can replace over 3 pounds of muscle after only eight weeks of regular strength exercise (Westcott 1993). Because our muscle mass is closely related to our metabolic rate,.

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