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Exercise Behavior Cardio-Vascular Good Medicine

Women May Get More Cardiovascular Benefits From Less Exercise

2 months, 4 weeks ago

2759  0
Posted on Feb 20, 2024, 6 p.m.

A study called: “Sex Differences in Association of Physical Activity With All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality” published in the open-access Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggests that women get more cardiovascular benefit from less exercise compared to men.

Research involving data from the National Health Interview Survey database of 412,413 American adults from Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai examining gender-specific outcomes has added a tick to the women’s side in the battle of the sexes, revealing a significant gender disparity in how physical activity/fitness frequency, duration, intensity, and type of physical activity benefits women and men differently. 

The study found that women achieved a 24% lower mortality risk with 2.5 hours of moderate-vigorous exercising compared to men needing 5 hours to achieve similar benefits. When it came to muscle strength training/activity, women reached peak benefit at one session per week, while men needed three sessions for the same amount of benefit. Women were able to reach peak benefit with less aerobic and muscle strengthening activity, but further gains are possible with exceeding this amount. 

“Women have historically and statistically lagged behind men in engaging in meaningful exercise,” says study co-author Dr. Martha Gulati, director of Preventive Cardiology in the Department of Cardiology in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai and the Anita Dann Friedman Chair in Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine and Research. “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.”

“For all adults engaging in any regular physical activity, compared to being inactive, mortality risk was expectedly lower,” said Susan Cheng, MD, MPH, the Erika J, Glazer Chair in Women’s Cardiovascular Health and Population Science, director of the Institute for Research on Healthy Aging in the Department of Cardiology in the Smidt Heart Institute, and senior author of the study. “Intriguingly, though, mortality risk was reduced by 24% in women and 15% in men.”

The researchers noted that their findings help to translate long-standing recognition of sex-specific physiology to a now expanded view of sex differences in exercise-related clinical outcomes, and with all types of exercise and variables accounted for they believe that there is power in recommendations based on their findings.

“Men get a maximal survival benefit when performing 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week, whereas women get the same benefit from 140 minutes per week,” Gulati said. “Nonetheless, women continue to get further benefit for up to 300 minutes a week.”

“I am hopeful that this pioneering research will motivate women who are not currently engaged in regular physical activity to understand that they are in a position to gain tremendous benefit for each increment of regular exercise they are able to invest in their longer-term health,” said Christine M. Albert, MD, MPH, professor of Cardiology, chair of the Department of Cardiology in the Smidt Heart Institute and the Lee and Harold Kapelovitz Distinguished Chair in Cardiology, adding that “concrete, novel studies like this don’t happen often.”

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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