Will I Get Too Muscular?
What a difference a century makes: well to do people in the early 1900's abhorred suntans and strong muscles because these were the hallmark of farmers and manual laborers, symbols of a lower class status. Now we spend billions on fitness while most gyms make tanning beds and sprays available to complement the perfect, sexy body.
Although most men tend to welcome any and all boost to their muscle mass, many women feel that an increase in the size of their muscles will make them look less feminine. While this may be correct in the case of young females who strive for the delicate, waif, fragile look, the opposite holds true for many women, especially as they mature. A stronger physique will not only keep aging structures from sagging, but as a universal marker for health, well-delineated muscles will visually counterbalance many of the other signs of aging, such as wrinkles or skin spots. Great biceps and deltoids, for example, will make your arms look younger than their chronological years.
As age progresses it becomes more difficult to maintain strong, solid muscles. Over the years, we steadily lose muscle mass due to, according to some scientists, certain proteins produced by our own body, which appear to be toxic to the muscles. Strange as it sounds, it is important to realize that this is not just a passive loss of muscle from idleness, but an active chemical process that little by little subtracts from the muscles. On average, it causes a healthy person to lose half a pound of muscle per year after age thirty-five. Sufficient exercises are therefore needed to counteract that loss, a difficult task at best, made even more difficult while trying to develop a net muscle gain.
The challenge we face in that muscle tug-of-war reminds me of Penelope's Web, the story of the Greek queen Penelope, who waited ten years for the return of her husband Ulysses. She postponed choosing a suitor to replace the missing king until she had finished sewing an intricate web; she secretly undid at night what she sewed during the day, awaiting for Ulysses' return. We lose muscles so fast as we age that one could say, exaggerating just a little, that we lose at night the muscles we build during the day.
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