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Women Get More Out of Exercise Than Men, According to New Study

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

Good news, ladies! If you’ve been putting in the work at the gym and wondering if it’s paying off, a new study has a resounding answer: YES.

Researchers from the United States looked at data from a large survey of adults and found that women who exercised regularly had a 24% lower risk of death from any cause compared to inactive women. This benefit was larger than the 15% reduction in mortality seen for men who were active compared to inactive men.

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In other words, women seem to reap greater health benefits from exercise than men. This is exciting news for women’s health, and it highlights the importance of getting regular physical activity for everyone.

The Main Findings

The beauty of this study is learning that women can get more out of each minute of moderate to vigorous activity than men do. It’s an incentivizing notion that we hope women will take to heart.

Martha Gulati, MD, director of Preventive Cardiology in the Department of Cardiology in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, involved over 500 adults. Participants were followed for a year and their exercise habits and heart health were monitored.

The researchers found that women who exercised for 2.5 hours per week achieved the same cardiovascular benefits as men who exercised for 5 hours per week.

This was true for both moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or biking, and muscle-strengthening activities, such as weightlifting or bodyweight exercises.

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re a woman who’s been feeling discouraged by the amount of exercise you need to do to stay healthy, this study is good news. It suggests that you may be able to cut back on your workout routine without sacrificing your heart health.

This is a game-changer for women who are short on time or simply don’t enjoy traditional exercise routines.

Why do women benefit more from exercise than men?

The study doesn’t say exactly why women seem to benefit more from exercise than men, but there are a few possible explanations.

  • Women tend to have higher body fat percentages than men, and exercise can help them lose weight and improve their body composition. This can lead to a number of health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Women’s bodies are more sensitive to the effects of insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, which can help to prevent type 2 diabetes.
  • Exercise can also improve mental health, and women are more likely than men to experience depression and anxiety. Regular physical activity can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve overall mood.

How much exercise do you need?

The study looked at the benefits of regular leisure-time physical activity, which means any activity that gets you moving and makes you sweat. This could include things like walking, running, biking, swimming, dancing, or playing sports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. They also recommend that adults do strength-training exercises that work all major muscle groups at least twice a week.

Getting started with exercise

If you’re not currently active, it’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time. This will help to prevent injuries and make it more likely that you’ll stick with an exercise routine in the long term.

Here are a few tips for getting started:

  • Find an activity you enjoy. This will make it more likely that you’ll stick with it.
  • Start slowly. Don’t try to do too much too soon.
  • Find a workout buddy. Having someone to exercise with can help you stay motivated.
  • Set realistic goals. Don’t try to lose too much weight or get too fit too quickly.
  • Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program. This is especially important if you have any health conditions.

Additional tips for women

While the study suggests that women may be able to get away with exercising less than men, it’s still important to get regular exercise for overall health and well-being. Here are a few additional tips for women:

  • Focus on strength training. Strength training is important for building muscle, which can help you burn more calories at rest and improve your overall fitness.
  • Don’t be afraid to lift heavy weights. Many women are afraid of bulking up, but this is a common misconception. Strength training will help you tone your muscles, not bulk them up.
  • Find an exercise program that you can stick with. The best exercise program is the one that you’ll actually do. So find something that you enjoy and that fits into your lifestyle.


Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for everyone, but according to this new study, women may seem to reap greater health benefits from exercise than men. If you’re not currently active, there are many benefits to getting started. Find an activity you enjoy, start slowly, and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time. Your body will thank you for it!



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