This post is sort of a public service announcement for women based on recent events and things I learned. If you’re a guy reading this, you may want to put your fingers in your ears and say “la la la la.” But then again, you may just want to pass it on to a female you know and care about.
As mentioned recently, my daughter had a scare with an iffy mammogram. It turned out to be a false alarm, thank God. But as a result of this I decided in solidarity with her to go and get a mammogram myself. A test I’ve been putting off for years. Not out of fear of the results really. I just don’t enjoy having my breasts smashed flat as a pancake. They always say “this may be a bit uncomfortable.” Well….Pafiffle! It’s quick, but it does hurt, just go ahead and say it and get on with it. Don’t bullshit me, I don’t appreciate it.
The test turned out fine, but the technician commented that one reason the test was good one was that I have good upper body muscle definition. “Me???” I thought. She explained that if a woman has good muscle definition there is a clear line of muscle against the chest wall to go by to make sure that all of her breast tissue got scanned in the test. She added that few women she tests have good upper body muscles. I asked her why that is and she told me that many women exercise by walking; outdoors, or on a treadmill or elliptical machine, and that doesn’t do much to develop upper body muscles.
I got to thinking about this and realized that I have been working on upper body strength for years because of my neck problems. I have a herniated disk in my neck and developing strong upper body muscles and the resulting better posture helps keep the pain away. I can always tell when I’ve been neglecting my exercise because I start to get neck and shoulder pain.
You don’t need an expensive set of equipment or lots of space to achieve this either. In the picture here I’ve included my entire set of exercise gadgets; a foam roller to lie on, a pair of 2 lb weights, and a broomstick. I purchased the foam roller and the weights at Walmart, spending maybe $25. The broomstick was free. I just sawed the head off of an old broom. My foot is in the picture to show the size scale. The purpose of the foam roller is that when you lay on it to do arm and other upper body exercise with light weights, you have to also balance on the foam roller. This helps strengthen that persnickety set of elusive core muscles.
The broom stick is excellent for keeping your shoulders strong and limber. All you have to do is grasp each end of the stick in front of you, lift it over your head and then down your back, without letting go of the broomstick. The first time I saw this done I thought “well that will dislocate my shoulders!” But it doesn’t. You may not be able to do it at first, but soon you will.
One thing I like about the broomstick especially is that you can usually find one anywhere you go. The broom or mop head can still be on it. Just be careful not to knock over someone’s lamp or heirloom vase while you’re doing it.
So there you have it. Upper body strength is important to women especially as we age. It keeps us from getting all hunched over and makes for a good catch on mammograms.