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Women Have to Do 20% More than Men

Posted: Monday, February 04, 2013

And while exercise alone might be enough for men to lose weight, women also have to look at their diet to get the same results

Experts say body composition such as muscle mass and hormones are to blame.

Scientists have discovered that when it comes to the benefits of exercise, the odds appear to be firmly stacked against women. New research suggests that women have to do 20% more exercise to get the same health benefits as men.

Scientists at the University of Missouri who put obese men and women on the same fitness program found men reaped significantly more benefits.

And experts are now warning that while exercise alone might be enough for men to lose weight, women must also address their diet to get the same results.

Professor Jill Kanaley and her colleagues looked at the heart rate and blood pressure of nearly 75 obese men and women with type 2 diabetes. They all followed a program of aerobic exercise for 16 weeks. They all worked at an effort of 65 per cent, which was worked out based on each individual's ability.

Despite everyone exercising at relatively the same speed, the researchers found that men got far more benefit from the exercise than women. Over the 16 weeks, women's recovery time did not improve, whereas men's did, indicating their fitness had improved. They also lost more weight.

Dr. Chris Easton, a lecturer in clinical exercise psychology at the University of West Scotland, stated that, "This adds to a growing body of evidence that men and women respond to exercise in different ways."

"One main reason for this is body composition -- men have a higher proportion of muscle than women -- and muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat." "This is crucially important as it means that even when they are resting, men burn more calories than women. This indicates that women really have to look at their diet as well as exercise, whereas men may be able to get by on exercise alone."

To get the same effect as a man working at 65 per cent effort, a woman would effectively need to work at around 85 per cent effort - or work out for longer. He added that men naturally have an advantage when it comes to fitness as they have larger hearts and lungs and a higher proportion of hemoglobin.

Longer-duration or higher-intensity exercise might benefit obese women with type 2 diabetes, Kanaley suggested. She also said more emphasis should be placed on how long it takes heart function to return to normal after a workout, as well as how fast the heart beats during a workout.

Longer-duration or higher-intensity exercise might benefit obese women with type 2 diabetes, Kanaley suggested. She also said more emphasis should be placed on how long it takes heart function to return to normal after a workout, as well as how fast the heart beats during a workout.

"A lot of people focus on how high individuals' heart rates get during exercise, but their recovery rates also should be monitored," Kanaley said. "When you exercise, you want your blood pressure to rise, but you don't want it to get too high. Your blood pressure should return to normal relatively quickly after you stop exercise. In our study, the recovery rate for women was not as rapid as for men. After the men trained, they got an even better recovery time, whereas women's time stayed about the same."

Study leader Professor Kanaley said, "This research highlights that the advantages we think exercise is going to give individuals may not be the same across genders, particularly for those who have type 2 diabetes. This is a concern because there are high mortality rates with type 2 diabetes, especially for women."

'We keep assuming that exercise will do the trick -- we think when we tell people to 'go train,' regardless of gender, everyone will get the same results. Our research indicates certain exercises may not be enough for women. These findings could help health providers and researchers develop targeted exercise interventions for obese women."

Source: http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14172&catid=53&Itemid=8, Metabolism, Jan. 2013.

 
 
 
 
 
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