In a new study from the University of British Columbia researchers have found that women are considerably less exhausted after natural, dynamic muscle exercises than men of similar age and athletic ability.
“We’ve known for some time that women are less fatigable than men during isometric muscle tests – static exercises where joints don’t move, such as holding a weight – but we wanted to find out if that’s true during more dynamic and practical everyday movements,” says Assistant Professor Brian Dalton. “And the answer is pretty definitive: women can outlast men by a wide margin.”
In his study, done in collaboration with the University of Guelph and University of Oregon, Dalton recruited eight men and nine women that were at a similar level of physical fitness. Participants were asked to flex their foot against a suite of sensors as quickly as they could 200 times. The speed, power and torque of their movements and electrical activity of their muscles was then captured and recorded over time.
“We chose to measure foot movements because it makes use of calf muscles on the back of the leg, which are essential for practical, everyday tasks like standing and walking,” says Dalton. “What we found is that males were faster and more powerful at first but became more fatigued much faster than females.”
While only one isolated muscle group was studied, Dalton says he would expect similar results for other muscles groups and his results are consistent with what has been observed elsewhere.
“We know from previous research that for events like ultra-trail running, males may complete them faster but females are considerably less tired by the end,” he adds. “If ever an ultra-ultra-marathon is developed, women may well dominate in that arena.”