Gender differences

Gender differences

I’m back in full swing with my study now. In the past week I’ve already almost completed one of four units so I should definitely be done in time for our move considering I’m not working full-time for much longer. The other day I was studying some anatomy and I found out a whole bunch of interesting facts about men and women I thought might be fun to share.

Women have wider pelvises than men
This one I knew already. Obviously we ladies have to have greater flexibility to support child bearing. What I didn’t know is that because our pelvises are wider, it creates instability in the pelvic girdle. This means, just based on genetics alone, women are more likely to have inflamed IT bands, turned out knees, overdeveloped arches in the feet and anterior pelvic tilt (hello, duck booty!).

Straight from my textbook!

This means that running is basically bad news for women – as if I needed more reason to lay off the cardio! Females are very prone to developing knee, calf and ankle injuries. I, for one, suffered from serious knee problems for years when I was running. If only I knew earlier it was my genetics interfering!

The other problem females have is that they are genetically designed to be more flexible than males. While this sounds good in theory, it also means they are more likely to have pain in their hips and knees from overstretched ligaments.

Most women are likely to develop forward head posture
Remember back when I was harping on about my chiropractic treatment for my forward head posture? Now is the time to listen. Females have less neck extensor mass than males, so the pressure placed on the body to support the head is much greater in females than in males.

The female head makes up approximately 8 per cent of total body weight. For every inch you hold your head forward, the load on the neck extensors is increased by the weight of the head. For example, two inches of forward load is equal to two times the weight of the head on the neck extensors. When the neck extensor muscles are stressed the body reacts by laying down mass, which creates the appearance of a lump on the back of the neck. I was holding my head about an inch forward, which created a lump in the side of my neck, and was a massive factor in my ongoing migraines.


There are also a number of environmental factors in developing forward head posture. One is self-consciousness. When young girls go through puberty many try to hide changes in their body by hunching their shoulders forward. As the spine gradually moves into a permanently flexed state, it becomes difficult to correct in adulthood.

Wearing high heels can also lead to forward head posture. Heels tip the body forward, which means that in order to look straight ahead your head has to permanently look up – this shortens the muscles at the back of the neck and encourages forward head posture.

I only wish I had learned of all this a year ago! Who knows how many of these factors had long-term damage on my spine? Beware, ladies…

Long hair creates headaches
The ratio of female to male headaches is 5:1. Do you know the single reason why? Hair! The added weight from long hair on the top of the head puts pressure on already struggling neck extensors. Kind of makes me want to shave my head.

Something tells me she gets a LOT of headaches...


My favourite – the hormones
A woman’s greatest fear when it comes to lifting weights is that it will make her bulky. It never hurts to disprove that fear. Males have significantly more testosterone than females. And what’s the prime hormone involved in building muscle? Testosterone!

Testosterone is both an anabolic (tissue building) and an androgenic (promoter of masculine characteristics) steroid. That means that unless you physically look like a man, you’re unlikely to develop muscles like one. Males typically have 10-30 picograms per millilitre of testosterone, while the female ratio is as low as 0.3pg/ml!

On top of that, women also have increased levels of oestrogen working against them. Women need to work even harder than men if they want to see that coveted muscle “tone”. Studies have proven that female fast twitch muscle fibres do not even respond in the same physiological way that men’s do.

So women are clearly at a disadvantage in a number of ways. Were you surprised by any of these facts?

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