Health Notes: Too much exercise gives new meaning to the term “women’s sufferage”

Health Notes: Too much exercise gives
new meaning to the term “women’s sufferage”

I get a lot of nasty letters when I talk about the inequalities between men and women. But I’m not the only one to point out the differences. I came across a headline on Reuters recently that read “For women, knee injuries can mean years of pain.”

It just goes to show you, again, that men and women are not the same-mentally or physically. A woman’s bones are less dense. If you take a normal female and a normal male of the same height and on the same diet (good or bad), the male will be 20 percent heavier. And it is not only the bones–the muscle mass of the male will also be larger. Even the composition of the muscle itself is not the same in the sexes.

The joints are not the same either, and, very significantly, the angle of some of the bones in relation to the spine is different. This causes more stress on female joints when they’re under pressure and subjected to twisting movements. This is particularly true of the femur and the hip joint. The long bone of the leg (the femur) angles out further at the hip joint as the female pelvis is wider and this makes the area more susceptible to injury from torque and weight bearing. This also causes trauma at the other end of the femur, the knee.

In a recent study of female soccer players, researchers reported: “Some knee injuries appear to cause years of pain and increase the risk of arthritis.” Among women who experienced an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury of the knee 12 years earlier, more than half had developed osteoarthritis in the knee, and 75 percent said symptoms from their injuries continued to interfere with their quality of life. On average, the women were only 31 years old, making them “young women with knees of old women,” study author Dr. L. Stefan Lohmander told Reuters.

Another area of susceptibility is the shoulder joint. Over the years I had many women come in to my office complaining of shoulder pain. My first question to them was: “Are you lifting weights or working out on one of those torture machines at the gym?” The answer was frequently yes. My answer to this was: “Then quit.”

Unfortunately, I don’t think this important revelation will make any difference since American women are so indoctrinated in the magic of exercise that they don’t want to think about the damage it can do to their joints (arthritis), bones (osteoporosis), or female organs (infertility, menstrual abnormalities). They’ve been brainwashed into thinking exercise is the key to weight loss, and nothing else matters. The problem is, exercise doesn’t lead to weight loss unless you starve yourself at the same time-and there’s a name for that: anorexia.

So my advice to women is to lay off the strenuous exercise. For weight control, it is not the number of “reps” you do in the gym, but the number of “reps” you do at the dinner table and the quality of the food you eat.


“High prevalence of knee osteoarthritis, pain, and functional limitations in female soccer players twelve years after anterior cruciate ligament injury,”Arthritis & Rheumatism 2004; 50(10): 3,145-3,152

“For women, knee injuries can mean years of pain,” Reuters Health News, 10/7/04