By Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali
A recent study suggests that when it comes to cardio and fitness, girls may have an aerobic edge over guys.
A study published in the journal of experimental physiology argued that the advantage has a lot to do with the body muscle fibers. On one hand, men reap benefit from their fast-twitch (Type II) muscle fibers that allow them to enhance their power and speed. While on the other, women benefit from their slow-twitch (Type I) muscle fibers which are fatigue resilient. These muscle fibers allow them to make a quick recovery and help with endurance (Hunter, 2016). Moreover, the muscles of a healthy woman would extract oxygen from the blood at a much faster rate as compared to men, which points to a superior aerobic system. This ability helps women to circumvent the accumulation of molecules that are linked to fatigue, tiredness, and reduced performance.
According to a research conducted at the Waterloo University, women who took up a training session with men went up to 80% of their maximum heart rate and adjusted to the exercise within 30 seconds as compared to men who took up almost a minute to adapt to the exercise. This implies that women had a 30% faster rate of oxygen processing as compared to men, which indicates physical efficiency. Moreover, it was found that women are highly efficient at transferring oxygen to tissues throughout the body, and their tissues were highly effective at using extra oxygen. Hughson explained that oxygen uptake is a significant indicator of overall physical fitness, and also the one in which women outshine men (Hughson, et al, 2017). Even though men are intrinsically a little stronger and faster than women, however, they can’t claim to be universally fitter.
Although, the studies have yet to investigate the reason behind the faster oxygen uptake found in females, however, the research has shaken the conventional assumption that men are naturally more athletic than women.
Hughson, R.L., et al, 2017. Sex differences in oxygen delivery, extraction, and uptake during moderate-walking exercise transition. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 42(9), pp.994-1000
Hunter, S.K., 2016. Sex differences in fatigability of dynamic contractions. Experimental physiology, 101(2), pp.250-255
– Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali is an MBA/M. Phil specialized in Supply Chain Management and a Certified LSS (USA). The Author has worked in the past as a research analyst and a critical reviewer. He is the founder of The Health Sphere and a fitness and writing enthusiast. You can follow the author on Instagram @saiyedfauzan or visit his Linkedin Profile
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