We are used to hearing that men are simply naturally more fit than women, but is that actually true? At the university of Waterloo in Canada, researchers have been testing this notion*.
They took nine women and nine men, who were in the same age group of 18-30, had similar body mass indexes, and told them to walk at certain speeds and inclines that would increase slowly. Each participant wore a face mask to track the amount of oxygen they used, and would walk until they reached 80% of their maximum heart rate.
The researchers explained that if people aren't fit, it will take them longer to adapt to exercise. By tracking their oxygen, they can analyze this change. They found that women adjusted to exercise at around the 30 second mark, while it took men 42 seconds. They also found that the females were better able to transport oxygen to tissues within the body, where they were also better utilized.
So, what does this mean for overall fitness? Men may still be able to claim they are slightly stronger and faster, but this research has shown that that does not mean that they are conclusively more fit. It simply depends on what criteria you use to measure fitness.
What's next for the study? The researchers want to conduct the same process on elite athletes instead of recreational exercisers and see how the results vary. Who do you think will come out on top?
*See the original study here.