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Study Shows Women May be More Aerobically Fit Than Men

Many people believe that men are more naturally fit than women. However, a recent study suggests that women can process oxygen more quickly than men when exercising, an important marker of aerobic fitness.


Participants in the study included 18 young men and women of similar weight, age, and aerobic fitness levels. All the participants performed an incremental cardiopulmonary treadmill exercise test and 3 moderate intensity treadmill exercise tests. The researchers measured interactions between oxygen supply and utilization.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that the women consistently outperformed the men, showing approximately 30% faster oxygen handling throughout the body. That means their muscles extracted oxygen from the blood faster, which indicates stronger aerobic health. Faster oxygen processing also means that the women were less likely to experience muscle fatigue, effort perception, and poor athletic performance.


Researchers from the University of Waterloo conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on June 1, 2017, in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

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