Ah yes, the age-old question of which gender has superior flexibility. Are men really less flexible than women?
The question is so old that it drives me to wonder if Adam and Eve ever competed to see who was more flexible.
Because there are so many variables, the answer usually varies from case to case.
That said, there are some universal facts that can help you understand the contrast in flexibility across both genders.
The reason the majority of females surpass the average male in flexibility is largely attributed to their anatomy.
Women have a more elastic muscle structure compared to men.
Male bones tend to be bigger and stronger which can make it harder for them to stretch their limbs.
Hormones also have a huge impact on flexibility.
Estrogen keeps muscles flexible while testosterone helps you build muscle mass.
Unless you’re willing to start taking Finasteride, you’ll simply have to accept that women possess this hormone-based advantage.
Men shouldn’t take it personally if they’re a lot stiffer than women, it’s simply evolution working its magic.
The female body was designed for childbirth while the male body was designed for hunting.
Women have evolved more flexible lower backs in order to be able to balance during pregnancy.
When a woman is pregnant, her center of gravity moves forward.
To prevent her from toppling over like a poorly constructed Jenga tower, her lower back needs to be flexible enough to go into posterior pelvic tilt for nine months in order to return her center of gravity to its original location, above her hips.
The reason that the lower back of a female is more flexible than that of their male counterpart is due to the fact that they have three vertebrae in their lumbar region rather than the two that males possess.
Another advantageous anatomical trait that help women be more flexible is their wider hips.
Wider hips are also a byproduct of a childbirth-centric evolution path and can make stretches like splits much easier for women compared to men.
Anatomy isn’t the only the factor that affects flexibility, genetics can also have a heavy influence on an individual’s physical capabilities.
Some people, regardless of their gender, will be extremely flexible without any apparent reason.
These individuals likely have other flexible relatives in their family tree which have passed down the elastic genes to them.
We can’t talk about nature without talking about nurture.
While some people are born less flexible than others, this can change throughout the course of their lives.
It is not uncommon to see people go from stiff and rigid to extremely flexible due to their hobbies.
Women tend to enjoy stretching and yoga more due to the fact that they generally have better balance which allows them to perform stretches with less effort compared to men.
Other common flexibility-enhancing activities that are primarily practiced by women include ballet and rhythmic gymnastics.
Think we’re being sexist by calling ballet and rhythmic gymnastics a primarily female activity?
Tell that to the International Olympic Committee or the Ballet BC.
Of course, there are a lot of activities that men generally enjoy doing more than women such as martial arts.
Traditional martial arts such as Aikido, Karate, or Taekwondo tend to incorporate stretching in their warm-ups.
Male martial artists have a good chance of being more flexible than your plain Jane.
Other activities that can help with flexibility include swimming, gymnastics, and dancing.
The Bottom Line
What we need to realize is it really doesn’t matter which gender contains the highest number of flexible individuals.
Always bear in mind that it isn’t healthy to compare yourself to others.
Accepting yourself will go a long way in the pursuit of happiness.
Just remember to keep stretching, do some flexibility-enhancing activities, and most of all, have fun with it!
That’s all for today, peace out fellow yogis!
Bonus Information About Flexibility
Here are some cool stories to reward you for making it to the end!
Daniel Browning Smith holds the Guinness World Record for most flexible man.
He received the prestigious title in 2007.
It wasn’t his first Guinness World Record though.
That honor goes to his record for “fastest time getting into a locked straitjacket” which he received in 1999.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to counteract the impact that aging has on your flexibility.
The best way to stay flexible is to do yoga on a regular basis.
Check out other benefits that you can achieve with yoga.
Did you benefit from this article? Did I miss anything? Any feedback or suggestions would be appreciated – please post in the comments and I will personally respond!
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