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Tart Cherry Jam
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Default May 13, 2024 at 10:06 PM
  #1
from a WebMD Newsletter this WebMD article landed in my inbox this morning.

The article talks about how much men are missing out by not engaging in yoga and pilates, the forms of exercise that are called women-dominated in the article. Men are not flexible and then they get injured due to that.

I have actually wondered about that for more than 10 years on a broader scale.

Say, I once attended a DBT for Bipolar group therapy class at Stanford. Bipolar affects men and women equally; there is no gender gap in prevalence (depression, by contrast, is much more common in women, while schizophrenia, according to some research, starts earlier in men and runs a more severe course in men). So, we had a large group with all but one participants being a woman. Yes, just one man in a large class solely focused on a disease that does not discriminate between men and women.

Years later I went to a group focused on depression and anxiety. One man, all others women. Yes, the ratio of women to men in depression is 2:1, but the ratio of women to men in that group was between 6 and 8 to 1.

I have been going to restorative yoga (the easy, relaxing type) for more than a decade. It is often that there are only women in class. No men at all.

I have recently resumed going to Yin yoga (one degree harder than restorative although still not as hard as Vinyasa flow) and I do see men but women still dominate.

I believe that when I once tried Bikram yoga (hot yoga, really hard), and it was 15 years ago, there were a lot of men in the studio. I am just not sure since I did not pay as much attention to these things at that moment due to severe stress in my life.

I now go to yoga workshops that include a sound bath at the end. An absolutely blissful experience. Women dominate at least 9:1 if not more.

By contrast, when I started playing racket sports recently, I saw more men than women on the courts. But not 9:1; more balanced than that.

When I go swimming, I would say it is 1.3:1 in the pool. Balanced. At least that is balanced.

To me, going to a psychotherapy group or relaxing yoga is self care. Yin yoga promotes flexibility, but restorative is more just pure bliss. Why aren't men participating?

Then there is seeking healthcare, that gap. I have my own very small but stark comparison datapoint: I regularly keep in touch with two of my former teachers, a man and a woman, and with the man (who is in his early 70s), it takes me considerable effort to convince him to go get checked out when he has symptoms, to get blood work done, etc. As in "and not use Google search as your physician". There is no problem like that with the woman who manages her healthcare fine, and manages the healthcare of her mother who is almost 100, may she live a very long life. So with the male teacher, it worries me that something bad would happen to him between our weekly conversations and he would not go see a doctor until it is too late to treat the symptoms.

From the Health policy partnership: "Men generally die earlier, become ill at a younger age and develop more chronic illnesses than women. Despite these health concerns, men are also up to 50% less likely to seek medical attention than women. What is stopping men from getting the help they need?" I have not read further and I do not know their conclusions and hypotheses, but I have wondered:

Could it be that men habitually die younger because they do not engage in self care, because they neglect their health?

I realize full well that in some countries the extreme gender gap in longevity is largely because many more men than women drink to excess, but still.

Also, I have never in my life seen a man in the sunscreen aisle at a drugstore. Do they all buy sunscreen online or do they simply not buy it? My grown-up son does use sunscreen but it is because I worked really long and hard instilling the appreciation of it in him and, I still order gifts of sunscreen online for him to make triple sure he does not forget. He tell me he does not forget and I hope he is being truthful. And, just as I suspected, men get skin cancer more often than women: Why Men Are More Likely to Get Skin Cancer, saying that part of the reason is behavioral and part, biological. What this article reports agrees with my observation of never having seen a man buy sunscreen at a drugstore, and although I started using sunscreen late in life, since I did, I have been regularly shopping at drugstores for it, i.e. it is not all online for me.

Also, obesity, that is more common in women than men but how is it counted? it is counted by BMI. But a woman with ample hips and generous buttocks and thighs would have a high BMI without running health risks, as fat in those areas, feminine fat, is not dangerous. I believe that if you exclude such women from the statistics and only count women with belly fat which is dangerous, the gender gap in obesity (5 percentage points) would dissipate.

With yoga, ten years ago, apparently only 18% of yoga studio attendees were men. I cannot see why because the WP article is behind a paywall: https://www.washingtonpost.com/natio...d8f_story.html But from what I do see in this article, it was across all types of yoga and not just the easier types that I practice.

Come to think of this, at my dentist's I also see women more often than men. Is it just my observation by happenstance? Apparently, not, as DentalIQ recently reported "The Journal of Dentistry study also found that men were more likely to require emergency care, while women were more likely to visit for preventive care or planned treatments.". Well, duh, if you do not get preventive care, you are more likely to end up needing emergency care!

What is underlying all that?

Are self-care, yoga, and actually getting healthcare on time for what ails you and even more so, for prevention such as dental cleanings, considered by men unmanly, a waste of time, or what? Is caring for one's looks involved (dental care and using sunscreen improve how we look... with sunscreen it becomes evident as we get older) and does that explain the gap, in part because men are not conditioned to care for their looks as much, and in part because they are at a certain advantage when it comes to aging (this is apparently because they do not experience a sudden spike in collagen loss the way women do when they hit menopause, so they age gradually and continuously and do not notice it as much)? I also personally think that salt-and-pepper hair looks better on men than on women but maybe it is my quirk.

With mental health, is it because the stigma surrounding it is more severe for men than for women? I remember meeting casually an acquaintance for lunch in 2013 and she greeted me at the table by saying that she had cut out gluten to help her depression and anxiety. She was not even a close friend, I had not seen her for several years prior to that, and yet she so easily shared that she had depression and anxiety. Granted, this was in Silicon Valley and not in Alabama, but still. Do women share such information (at least the now socially acceptable depression and anxiety, more socially acceptable than bipolar, schizophrenia, dissociative and eating disorders) more easily and more openly than men and, as an extension of that, seek care more readily?

More than a purely theoretical inquiry, I am asking because I want to know what we as women who themselves are well informed and well aware of the benefits of prevention and self care can do to help the men in our lives who are resistant.

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Long term side effects from medications some of them discontinued:
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Suspected narcolepsy

Treated with Ritalin 5mg
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Default May 14, 2024 at 05:56 AM
  #2
The Post article said men hurt themselves in yoga, perhaps because they dont start slowly enough. I remember there was a lot of talk of yoga injuries a few years back - i wonder if that was men?

Hey, heres the article, they just added a gift function!

Why yoga is still dominated by women despite the medical benefits to both sexes - The Washington Post

Last edited by unaluna; May 14, 2024 at 09:50 AM..
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Default May 14, 2024 at 09:51 AM
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Tagging article
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Confused May 15, 2024 at 01:39 PM
  #4
I've been told by various therapists over the years that women are more verbal, more likely to seek support, and that there are actual physical differences between the female and male brain.

Men have been conditioned, at least in the US, to be tough and "a man". There may still be a stigma to seek help of any kind, whether it's mental or physical.

There are way more women at my local senior center than men, and it could be because women outnumber men to begin with. And we live longer. In my Zumba-like exercise class, there's just one man who comes regularly. There were a couple of others but they dropped out. Many possible reasons, but I noticed in general that center just has way more women, including the staff. The facilitators that lead the grief and support groups are always women. Years ago when I went, there was just one man in it.

Men have heart attacks and high blood pressure more usually, but then they don't "let it all out" like it's acceptable for women to do. We cry, scream, unload on someone and feel better. Yet men won't do that and I've seen articles saying how most men don't even have a close friend. And that's sad. They haven't been taught emotional skills or that it's okay to have emotions, they are human too.

This is a very thought provoking topic.

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Women-dominated exercise such as yoga and pilates  would greatly benefit men

Hmmm....looks like some good tips in here.


Women-dominated exercise such as yoga and pilates  would greatly benefit men

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Default May 15, 2024 at 04:17 PM
  #5
Very interesting and thought-provoking post, Tart Cherry Jam.
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Tart Cherry Jam
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Default May 16, 2024 at 12:59 AM
  #6
Just to thank for the responses, posted and yet to come. I will be away until EOM and then will be back to read them and discuss!

__________________
Bipolar I w/psychotic features
Last inpatient stay in 2018

Geodon 40 mg
Seroquel 75 mg
Lybalvi 5 mg as a PRN

Gabapentin 1200 mg, Vitamin B-complex (against extrapyramidal side effects)

Long term side effects from medications some of them discontinued:
- hypothyroidism
- obesity

Suspected narcolepsy

Treated with Ritalin 5mg
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