Women's Exercise Liberation

At the Wellness Club, we talked about the tree types of muscles in your body -- cardiac, smooth, and skeletal. Everybody knows about cardio, but few think much about the other two. Smooth muscles are in your gastrointestinal tract, blood vessels, eyes, uterus, and other places. They do work for you 24/7 without you even thinking about it.

The skeletal muscles, over which we have more conscious control, enable us to move, balance upright, protect our skeletons and organs, and, often over-looked, maintain our metabolism. The major energy stores in your body are the glycogen in the skeletal muscle system and liver. How much muscle you have has a lot to do with whether you are fit and slim or overweight and sluggish.

Although the video below is a little too focused on body image, it is a quick and entertaining recap of how women discovered they can and should exercise just as hard and often as males. Their bodies change as a result. While a buff outward appearance is fine, too, the best thing about having muscle is that carbs you eat have a better chance of turning into muscle glycogen, used as fuel when you exercise, rather than fat in your legs and butt. Yes, you look good, but better yet, you avoid heart disease, diabetes, and many forms of cancer.

What's really cool is that you can keep these benefits throughout your life. Check out the video of this 70+ year old athlete who lifts weights almost every day and runs 80 miles a week:

For decades, women were told that resistance exercise, especially lifting weights,would make them look like the Incredible Hulk. Not so. Weights help control weight.

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