Study reveals women may require less exercise than men for equal cardiovascular benefits

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that women may need less exercise than men to achieve the same “survival benefit.” The study, which analyzed health data from over 400,000 adults in the U.S. over a 22-year period, found that women who engage in just under 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity per week have a 24% lower risk of mortality, compared to 15% for men who engage in 5 hours of exercise.

The findings also indicate that women may benefit more from each minute of exercise compared to men. For example, women who engage in regular aerobic exercise have a 36% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular issues, compared to 14% for men.

The study also looked at the benefits of strength training, finding that women accrue the same degree of benefit from about one session per week, while men may need three sessions. The researchers suggest that differences in male and female bodies could explain the varying results.

Although the study had limitations, such as being observational and based on self-reported data, it underscores the potential benefits of exercise for both men and women. Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist, emphasized the importance of exercise for overall health, regardless of gender.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults do 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, with no specific recommendations based on gender. This study highlights the importance of regular exercise for both men and women in achieving better health outcomes.

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