New Study: Do Women Benefit From Exercise More Than Men?

February 20, 2024

Put another way, for a given amount of time and effort put into exercise, women had more to gain than men.

Director of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Dr. Susan Cheng. She authors a new study suggesting that women can exercise less than men and still receive the same decreased risk for all-cause and cardiovascular-related death.

The Study: Researchers surveyed more than 400,000 participants, ages 27 to 61, regarding their exercise between 1997 and 2019. Additionally, they tracked mortality causes from participants who died during the time of the study (with specific attention on cardiovascular related-mortality). Researchers found that women who exercised for a minimum of 150 minutes per week had a 24% less likelihood of dying due to any cause compared to women who exercised less than 150 minutes. Meanwhile, men who exercised for at least 150 minutes per week showed 15% less likelihood of dying when compared to men who exercised less than 150 minutes. The results were similar when researchers analyzed exercise’s correlation to a decreased risk of cardiovascular related mortality in women and men.

The data also indicated: “Whereas men needed 300 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity to see their biggest reduction i[n] risk of death, women saw the same benefit at 140 minutes a week – and their risk kept getting lower as they went up to 300 minutes a week,” explains CNN.

Why It Matters: The study suggests that women can exercise less than men and still see the same minimized risk of death. “It turns out that women are not just little men, but rather, they have a completely different physiology,” said Dr. Andrew Freeman with National Jewish Health in Denver. The recent study also adds to a growing body of research indicating the importance of physical activity for overall well-being.

Read More: Women might lower their risk for cardiovascular disease by twice the amount as men with exercise (CNN)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas