Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Women and Sports

Not too long after I hurt my knee back in September of last year, I got into an argument with my father, who had said to me, "I don't think women should do kung fu." I know he probably was reacting to seeing his daughter hurt herself while he came and watched a class and had found an awkward way to show his concern, and, well, he also is kinda old school, but his statement infuriated me. How could he say that to me, especially after watching me and several of my female friends train so hard for nearly two hours? Hmph!

It is interesting, however, taking into account how many of us women do suffer from various joint (especially knee) injuries. I've heard that women are more susceptible to such injuries for a number of reasons such as our general greater flexibility leads to overextension, or that wider hips lead to a different sense of balance, or that higher tolerance for pain results in us ignoring warning signs, or we feel like we have to prove something while performing against males by pushing even harder.

In fact, this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine featured an article discussing sports and women (in the context of soccer). Check it out. It suggests that perhaps because we are built differently, we should be aware of such differences, and not necessarily view them as limitations, but train with them in mind. The article also mentioned the importance of "sufficient core muscle strength, balance or overall coordination to play safely."

I remember reading recently in one of those free magazines you find while riding an airplane about building core strength, a concept with which I was only vaguely familiar. There is belief that emphasis in building "core" areas such as the abs, pelvis, shoulders and general torso area will result in a safer overall development of one's physicality.

Perhaps it would be prudent to be smarter about training kung fu rather than just slashing through everything? What do you think?

(Also, here is a follow-up discussion to the Times article.)

1 comment:

  1. I read an article years ago that women in sports have more knee injuries. Their tendons and ligaments are generally not as tight as the guys, and the article suggested women doing extra exercises to strengthen up the knees. I can give you some exercises if you are interested. (this comes from a guy that has had knee and many other injuries from rugby and spent a lot of time re-habbing).