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Men have less strength today
How necessary is it today for men to have excessive physical strength? Office work, housework and caring for the children - these are all tasks (also) for men today. A study wanted to find out more, and examined the gripping force of men. Indeed, evolution thinks.
Study compares data to an investigation 30 years ago
According to a scientific study by the Winston-Salem State University in the US state of North Carolina, men are said to be able to grasp much weaker than their direct ancestors. As the two study directors explained in the article in the science magazine "Journal of Hand Therapy", "the gripping power of the early 30-year-olds has decreased by 20 percent compared to their fathers".
In the study setup, the arms and hands of the test subjects were measured using a dynamometer. The 237 participants were put through their paces beforehand and were in the age group of 20 to 34 year olds.
First, it was measured how the participants can access with the whole hand - then it was a question of the strength of the grip. Now the women and men should show how much they can pinch.
20 percent less power
The results have now been compared with the findings from 1985. In this study, too, the hand strength of test subjects was measured. "The hand strength of the male participants is 12 kilograms less than that of the men in the 80s," the researchers write. “When it comes to arm wrestling, the average man of the day can clearly beat the average man of today.” In percent, that's a whopping 20 percent less force than 30 years ago.
Now the question can be asked whether the muscle strength has shifted to another part of the body. Instead, Fain and Weatherford explain that the strength in the hands is an indicator of the muscular strength of the entire body. So the man's handshake was a sure sign of his manhood. On the other hand, those who access limp tend to have less muscle strength in the rest of the body. "Men are obviously weaker today," the researchers sum up.
Women are getting stronger
In contrast, the muscle strength had even increased somewhat in comparison to the examination at that time in women. Women between 30 and 34 years old can grab as powerfully as their mothers. The man's superiority in muscular strength thus disappears.
Is this a bad sign for weakening men? It is inappropriate to speak of "better" or "worse", the researchers believe. Rather, “it's more of a change,” the scientists emphasize. Today, the ability to "grab hard in the post-industrial knowledge society is hardly needed anymore." The fathers still had to do powerful work, while the sons often only need their fingers to type on the computer. For this reason, the muscles would also lose their strength.
Quite different with women. While following the credo “self is the woman”, they were able to keep their strength or even expand it. This is also a sign of the social development that is noticeable in evolution.
Muscles are a fountain of youth
However, the state of dwindling strength can also have health consequences. So we know today that muscle strength is a key to dynamism and flexibility. The muscles can ensure that we remain dynamic and independent even into old age, says Prof. Dr. Ingo Froböse from the German Sport University in Cologne. It is therefore advisable to compensate for immobility in everyday working life with sporting compensation. Any movement stimulates the muscles. No matter whether it is endurance running, swimming or weight training in the studio. (sb)