Thursday, 19 June 2008

Bored, so Blogging

Always an eye-catching title, I feel. Welcome, reader, to the inane ramblings of my Thursday mind.

I ought to mention that, having said I was going to rest my dodgy ankle and knee, I decided I would rather be crippled than lose the paltry levels of fitness I've built up over the last year or two, so went to the gym. Yes, I'm well aware this puts me dangerously close to the category 'Gym Idiot', but I care not! Especially as I suffered no ill effects from the 45 minute treadmill & weights session. In fact, I felt no pain in my kneecap at all - until I took the pooches for a walk on the beach afterwards and walked up a sand dune. Going uphill was very sore, so I think it's patella tenonitis - aka 'jumper's knee.' Seeing as I don't think I've jumped for approximately 24 years, this is heavy (ha ha) irony. It's also much less alarming than it having anything to do with the ACL, though, so I'm pretty happy. If it persists much longer I'll go back to the doc.

Here's something that should make all women angry (oo, oo, my favourite!). I was interested in finding out at what age a woman reaches her physical peak, so I entered "female physical peak" into Google. These are the top 10 websites:

1 & 2. AskMen - Peak Attractiveness. Talks about male prowess in the bedroom, female libido killers.
3. What happens to you when you reach your physical peak/goal? From a website talking about weight loss and looking good - not strength or fitness.
4. Female Sexual Problems.
5. Women's Sexual Health in Midlife and Beyond
6. - At last! Peak Performance Online - A website talking about women in sport.
7. Body Image: Female physical attractiveness in Britain ...
8. Investigation of circadian rhythms in peak power and mean power ... A study of exercise and sleep, I think.
9. Does hunger influence judgments of female physical attractiveness? What? I mean ... what?
10. The Peak Experience of Sex/Lasting Longer in Bed

Has anyone spotted why I might be quite cross about this? But before I became extremely irate, I decided to put "male physical peak" into Google. These are the top 10 websites.

1 & 2. Same as the female.
3. Age - climers guide to Everest. Mentions the physical peak of both men and women in the first sentence.
4. CAT.INST. Article about dyspnoea in COPD cases during exercise.
5. Male 18-30 in Peak Physical Condition - some women's mag looking for a male model.
6. Body Image - same as number 7 for the female.
7. Arch Gen Psychiatry. A study on male physical violence and theft.
8. A 33-yr follow-up of peak oxygen uptake and related variabl...zzzzzzzzzsnoorrrre. Yet another scientific study, involving both men and women.
9. Same as female 10.
10. Male Nude Photography by Dylan Ricci.

So, for women, physical prowess is almost exlusively to do with sex. 8/10 of those articles are about sex or self-image, with actual exercise only appearing at number 6. One scientific study relating to exercise (sort of?) appears at number 8. With men, to be fair, it's still pretty dominated by sex and vanity with 6/10 articles. On the other hand, the 3rd article is exercise related and, ironically, answers my question about women within the synopsis lines. The rest are scientific studies, dealing with both men and women - and one is about male violence and theft, which is pretty insulting. I think I'd rather my physical prowess was linked with sex than violence. But what is really frustrating is that you get more information on female physicality by researching male physicality - and while sex is dominant for both sexes, there's definitely more about fitness with men. So what is it about women and fitness? Why is it so hard to link the two?

Ladies, let me say this once and for all: you are supposed to be strong. You are supposed to be muscular. We were built for physical labour. No, we're not as explosively strong as men, but we're not nearly as far off as we think we are, and stamina wise we're just as good, if not better (thinking really, really long distances, thanks to our more effective storage facilities. Hell, I could probably walk to Mars on my fat reserves). If you lift weights, you will not develop bulging muscles and be forced to wear a string bikini while posing with rippling biceps. 21st century woman is flaccid, weak and utterly convinced that physical attractiveness comes from clothing and make up. If women's magazines had any brains, or knowledge of beauty, they would focus primarily on health and fitness, followed by how to enhance this natural state through adornment. But no. Instead of saying - "look, exercise improves your skin, your figure and your state of mind!" they say "look, it's winter, we're all pale and unhealthy from staying inside and doing fuck all, so here are some make up tips which completely fail to disguise the fact you're pale and unhealthy, but create a half decent impression in this world where make-up is universally recognised as a symbol of attractiveness. Oh, and instead of running, or doing some leg weights, put on some stupid shoes so you look taller, your legs look more toned, and you learn to walk in a seemingly graceful manner - which would come naturally if you had the actual muscle tone and loose limbs of the physically fit, but, because it's enforced is actually cripplingly bad for your back, feet, and general posture. And boy will that come and bite you on the arse later in life."

But then again, it's so much easier to present an image than to actually spend all that time and effort exercising. After all, who has the time? Work is long and hard, and by the time it's over most people just want to unwind with a glass of wine and the TV. And unless you're actually inclined towards exercise, wasting time on your precious weekends doing exercise is hardly appealing. Not to mention that exercising only once a week isn't nearly enough - so why bother at all?

But I bet you this - if women's magazines, and women's culture started focusing on highlighting how attractive a fit, healthy woman is, and how fashionable it is to play a sport, I bet women would start flocking to join up. Fact is, it's not considered feminine to get all hot and sweaty, and that is the biggest load of bollocks in the world. I can't answer for my male counterparts, but from an attraction point of view, a woman working out is a fine, fine sight. And there are few worse turn-offs than an overly primped, made-up, flaccid creature whose idea of getting some fresh air involves a trip to the local tanning salon.

The point of this rant? Er ... none, really, except to say healthy is sexy, so get out there with your tennis raquets, rounders bats, running shoes, bicycles, swimming costumes, or whatever comes to hand, and start creating an uber-species of magnificent, strong, healthy chicas who might live to 85 but who physically fall apart at 55.

Oh - and get a massage once in a while.

Adendum: A woman's physical peak, according to that Everest website and therefore not medically backed up at all, is in her mid thirties. Hurrah. On the other hand, if anyone can find info from a more reliable source, I'd love to read it. Ta.