Women may realize health benefits of regular exercise more than men

Feb. 21, 2024
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults get at least 2.5-5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise or 1.25-2.5 hours of vigorous exercise each week.

A National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported observational study finds that even when women and men get the same amount of physical activity, the risk of premature death is lower for women.

For all the health benefits of exercise for both groups, however, only 33% of women and 43% of men in the study met the standard for weekly aerobic exercise, while 20% of women and 28% of men completed a weekly strength training session.

The authors said multiple factors, including variations in anatomy and physiology, may account for the differences in outcomes between the sexes. For example, men often have increased lung capacity, larger hearts, more lean-body mass, and a greater proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers compared to women. As a result, women may use added respiratory, metabolic, and strength demands to conduct the same movement and in turn reap greater health rewards.

NIH release