Study Finds Major Gender Exercise Gap That Favors Women Over Men


Women have always been taught that men have an easier time building muscle, but when it comes to the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, the fairer sex have a leg up.

This is according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, which found that women gain more overall benefits from doing the same amount of physical activity as men. In coming up with the findings, researchers from the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles analyzed the physical activity data of 412,413 adults in the United States who responded to the National Health Interview Survey database between 1997 and 2019.

Participants provided details about the frequency, duration, intensity, and type of physical activity they engaged in during cardiovascular exercise. In examining the data, researchers learned that men gained their maximum “survival benefit” from doing five hours per week of “moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity,” such as brisk walking or cycling.

However, women achieved that same benefit after just 2½ hours of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. 

When it came to strength training, the gap was even wider. Women required just one session of strength training exercises per week to gain the same outcome as men, who reached their maximum benefit from three weekly sessions.

And that’s not the only way women came out on top. While overall mortality risk decreased across all participants in the study, it was reduced for women by 24 percent and just 15 percent for men.

“We found not only that progressively greater amounts of physical activity reduced mortality risk, but also that the amount of regular exercise needed to achieve the same degree of risk reduction was different in females versus males,” Dr. Susan Cheng, Smidt Heart Institute’s director of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging and senior author of the study, told Fox News Digital

“In effect, women did not need to exercise for as much time as men to achieve the same benefit,” Cheng explained. “Put another way, for a given amount of time and effort put into exercise, women had more to gain than men.”

She said that she hopes the result of the study will help women who aren’t currently engaged in regular physical activity understand that there is not just substantial benefit to be gained, but even more so than their male counterparts.

“Part of what makes females and males different is that when it comes to living longer and living healthier, different types of investments are linked to different types of gains,” Cheng added.

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