Women may gain greater health benefits from regular physical activity than do men at equivalent or lower doses of activity, suggest data from more than 400,000 US adults.
Over two decades, with any regular physical activity, all-cause mortality risk was reduced by 24% in women vs 15% in men, and cardiovascular mortality risk was reduced by 36% and 14%, respectively, compared with inactivity, researchers found.
Participating in strength training exercises (vs not) was associated with a reduced risk for all-cause death of 19% in women and 11% men and reductions in cardiovascular death of 30% and 11%, respectively.
“Women have historically and statistically lagged behind men in engaging in meaningful exercise,” co–lead author Martha Gulati, MD, with the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, said in a statement. “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.”
The study was published online February 19 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Sex-Specific Exercise Advice?
The findings are based on leisure-time physical activity data collected over roughly 20 years via the National Health Interview Survey for 412,413 US adults aged 27-61 years. During roughly 4.9 million person-years of follow-up, there were 39,935 all-cause deaths and 11,670 cardiovascular deaths.
Both men and women achieved a peak survival benefit at 300 minutes of weekly moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity. But the mortality reduction was substantially greater in women than in men for the same amount of regular exercise (24% vs 18%).
Similarly, for any given dose of physical activity leading up to 300 minutes per week, women derived proportionately greater survival benefits than did men, the authors reported.
“Importantly, the greater magnitude of physical activity-related survival benefit in women than men was consistently found across varied measures and types of physical activity including frequency, duration per session, and intensity of aerobic physical activity, as well as frequency of muscle strengthening activities,” they wrote.
They say multiple factors, including variations in anatomy and physiology, may account for the differences in outcomes between men and women. For example, compared with men, women may use more respiratory, metabolic, and strength demands to conduct the same movement and in turn, reap greater health benefits.
The study also showed only 33% of women and 43% of men regularly engaged in aerobic physical activity, whereas only 20% of women and 28% of men completed a weekly strength training session.
“We hope this study will help everyone, especially women, understand they are poised to gain tremendous benefits from exercise,” senior author Susan Cheng, MD, with the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai, Los Angeles, said in a statement.
In an accompanying editorial, Wael Jaber, MD, and Erika Hutt, MD, from Cleveland Clinic Ohio, wrote that this analysis “brings us one step farther in gaining insights into the role and influence of physiological responses to exercise with a sex-specific lens.”
The study is “well designed and adds important information to the body of literature that can potentially close the gender gap and optimize sex-specific physical activity recommendations by policy makers and societal guidelines,” they wrote.
“This study emphasizes that there is no singular approach for exercise. A person’s physical activity needs and goals may change based on their age, health status, and schedule – but the value of any type of exercise is irrefutable,” Eric J. Shiroma, ScD, with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, said in a statement.
The study was supported in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health. The authors and editorial writers have declared no relevant conflicts of interest.
Source link : https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/health-gains-exercise-greater-women-2024a10003fv?src=rss
Publish date : 2024-02-20 21:41:36
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