Women Can Work Out Less Than Men and Still Have a Lower Risk of Dying

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Unrecognizable woman in sportswear looking in her fitness tracker after home workout training.

When it comes to women and exercise, less might actually be more. In a recent study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers found that women generally needed less exercise to reduce their risk of dying. Whereas men needed 300 minutes of weekly exercise to lower their chances of cardiovascular mortality by 18%, women only needed 140 minutes to see the same benefits (reducing their risk by 24%). This comes as huge news for anyone who struggles to get themselves to the gym, suggesting that — for women — showing up is half the battle.

Additional findings indicated that longevity benefits peaked for both sexes at the 300 minute mark (translating to five hour-long sessions, if you’re doing the math at home). These numbers were also consistent for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise, which means both kinds of exercise are promising for longevity purposes. It’s great news, but why has it taken us this long to figure out that men and women need different things from their workouts?

There’s already a scarcity of credible exercise science for women who want to get stronger, live longer, and take control of their health. Online, women commiserate over their exercise struggles, sharing ways to balance your hormones or even sync your strength training to your menstrual cycle for better energy and more productive gains. Now, we’re learning that women might not even need to be spending so much time in the gym in the first place.

Of course, longevity isn’t the only worthwhile benefit of exercise. But the bottom line is that women deserve more research to help make educated choices about their workouts. Until then, we’ll take this as a win . . . and possibly an excuse to cut our next gym sesh in half.

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