Large Study Shows That Women Get Same Exercise Benefits As Men, But With Less Effort

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Researchers have unveiled a striking revelation regarding exercise habits, shedding light on a notable “gender gap” favoring women over men in the realm of physical activity.

Contrary to common assumptions, women tend to derive greater cardiovascular benefits from exercise despite engaging in it less frequently than men.

Drawing insights from a comprehensive analysis of data from 412,000 adults in the United States, the research emphasizes that females experience enhanced “heart health benefits” from exercise compared to their male counterparts.

Professor Martha Gulati, spearheading the study as the Director of Preventive Cardiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Loas Angeles, suggests that women can attain equivalent health gains through exercise with notably less effort.

Professor Gulati said, “The beauty of this study is learning that women can get more out of each minute of moderate to vigorous activity than men do.”

Historically, women have lagged behind men in the frequency of meaningful exercise participation. The research team delved into 22 years of data sourced from the National Health Interview Survey, publishing their groundbreaking findings in the esteemed Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC).

The analysis revealed that despite exercising less frequently, women garner cardiovascular advantages from physical activity.

“For all adults engaging in any regular physical activity, compared to being inactive, mortality risk was lower,” said study senior author Professor Susan Cheng.

“Intriguingly, though, mortality risk was reduced by 24 percent in women and 15 percent in men.”

In examining moderate to vigorous exercise routines, such as brisk walking or cycling, it emerged that men reached optimal survival benefits by dedicating approximately five hours per week to such activities.

In contrast, women achieved comparable benefits with half the time, averaging merely two-and-a-half hours per week. Moreover, concerning muscle-strengthening exercises like weightlifting, men peak in benefits after three weekly sessions, whereas women attain similar benefits with just one session.

The study further illuminated that women attain maximal survival benefits by engaging in physical activity for 140 minutes per week, while men must double their efforts, aiming for 300 minutes weekly to reap equivalent rewards.

Notably, women continue to accrue additional benefits with extended exercise duration, showcasing the enduring advantages of sustained physical activity. Professor Christine Albert, a key figure in the research endeavor, expresses hope that women will heed these findings and integrate them into their lifestyle choices, recognizing the profound impact of tailored exercise regimens on cardiovascular health.

She shared, “I am hopeful that this pioneering research will motivate women who are not currently engaged in regular physical activity to understand that they are in a position to gain tremendous benefit for each increment of regular exercise they are able to invest in their longer-term health.”