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Women gain greater health benefits from less exercise than men, study reveals


Mortality risk reduction was 24% for women compared to 15% for men engaged in regular physical activity

Women gain greater health benefits from less exercise than men, study reveals.—Reuters/file

In a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers found that women achieve greater health benefits with less exercise than men, AOL reported. 

The study highlighted that women need just under 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week to attain the same “survival benefit” that men derive from five hours of physical activity. The mortality risk reduction was 24% for women compared to 15% for men engaged in regular physical activity.

Dr Martha Gulati, co-lead author of the study, emphasised the encouraging finding, stating, “The beauty of this study is learning that women can get more out of each minute of moderate to vigorous activity than men do.” 

The research spanned health data from 1997 to 2019, involving 412,413 U.S. adults, with 39,935 deaths recorded by the study’s end, including 11,670 cardiovascular deaths.

While acknowledging the study’s observational design and the limitations of self-reported information, the researchers highlighted the distinct benefits women gain from aerobic exercise and strength training. 

Among women, regular aerobic exercise resulted in a 36% lower risk of cardiovascular-related deaths, while men experienced a 14% reduction. Similarly, women achieved peak benefits from one session of strength training per week, in contrast to men who required three sessions.

The researchers suggested that gender-based physiological differences, such as heart size, lung capacity, and muscle fibres, might contribute to varied outcomes. 

Dr Steven Nissen, a cardiologist, found the findings intriguing but emphasised the need for further confirmation through additional studies.

Regardless of gender, the researchers reiterated the significance of exercise as a fundamental component of overall health, aligning with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.



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