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Men are strong, but women last longer

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They are far less tired or exhausted after completing natural and dynamic muscle exercises – and they can outlast men by “a wide margin”, researchers at the University of British Columbia have discovered.

They tested eight men and nine women, of similar age and fitness levels, with a simple exercise where they had to flex their foot against a range of sensors 200 times. Foot movements were chosen because they use the calf muscles on the back of the leg, which help us stand, walk and run.

Their findings are echoed in other studies that have found that women also have more endurance in static exercises where the joints don’t move, and in ‘ultra’ running trials, where men may complete them faster, but women are far less tired at the end.

But it’s not meant to be another shot in the battle of the sexes. Understanding the difference between men and women could help fitness experts design exercise programmes that are more suitable for either sex. It could also have implications in the work environment to improve effectiveness and productivity.

Neither sex is better than the other, it’s just that they are different. “There’s no battle at all. Maybe more of a balance of the sexes,” said researcher Brian Dalton.

(Source: Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 2017; 1: DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2017-0013)

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