Study Finds Women May Receive More Health Benefits From Exercise Than Men

A new study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health has found that women may receive more health benefits from exercise than men do, regardless of what type of exercise they perform.

The study analyzed data from more than 400,000 United States adults aged 27 to 61 and found that women who exercise were 24 percent less likely to die from any cause compared to women who do not exercise. For men who exercise, they were 15 percent less likely. Women who exercise regularly were also 36 percent less likely to die from a cardiovascular event, while physically active men had a 14 percent reduced risk.

The pattern of women experiencing greater reduced risks of death compared to men was shown regardless of the type of exercise. Men and women who participated in moderate aerobic activity for 300 minutes per week were found to have a 18 percent and 24 percent reduced risk for death, respectively. Additionally, it was found that women achieve the same benefits from exercise as men in less time. Women cross the 18 percent reduced risk threshold when they do 140 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week, compared to 300 minutes per week for men. Similar results were shown when examining the effects of vigorous exercise and strength-based exercise.

“We hope this study will help everyone, especially women, understand they are poised to gain tremendous benefits from exercise,” said Susan Cheng, the Erika J. Glazer Chair in Women’s Cardiovascular Health and Population Science in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, California. “It is an incredibly powerful way to live healthier and longer. Women on average tend to exercise less than men and hopefully, these findings inspire more women to add extra movement to their lives.”

Among all 400,000 adults analyzed in this study, only 33 percent of women and 43 percent of men met the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation for weekly aerobic exercise, and only 20 percent of women and 28 percent of men met the standard for weekly strength training.

“Even a limited amount of regular exercise can provide a major benefit, and it turns out this is especially true for women,” said Dr. Cheng. “Taking some regular time out for exercise, even if it’s just 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise a few times each week, can offer a lot more gain than they may realize.”

Filed Under: Research/Study


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