Hitting the gym with your husband or boyfriend can be fun, but knowing a little more about the mechanics can prevent some of the challenges that may occur. Workouts for women differ in many ways from those for men simply because you function differently. Here’s how:
Women Can Take More
Researches found some serious girl power in a study for the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. In the study, a group of men and women were asked to run intervals at their maximum pace. At the end of the workout, they rated how difficult they found the workout session. Even though men and women rated the sessions about the same level of difficulty, the women ran at about 96 to 97 percent of their max heart rates, as opposed to men, who only used 92 percent of their maximum. What does this mean? Well, it could mean that women endure more than men with a more positive attitude. Either way, the study shows that we work harder. Way to go, ladies!
Cardiovascular health is generally very different between men and women. Women produce estrogen that actually helps protect them from heart attacks. However, a protein produced during intense cardio workouts, called HSP70, is counteracted by estrogen. Because HSP70 protects your heart against tissue damage, women who are doing particularly intense workouts will likely be healthier performing them when their estrogen levels are down.
The heart isn’t the only part of the body affected by cardio workouts for women and men. Lung capacity comes into play for any type of exercise that increases your heart rate. More oxygen is required, and sometimes that’s harder for women because women generally have smaller lungs than men. The difference is especially noticeable when working out in hot temperatures or at higher altitudes.
While both men and women workout to feel better and lead healthier lifestyles, their ideal body shapes are much different. Overall, men focus on bulking up, building strong, large muscles, while workouts for women tend to focus more on toning and building long, lean muscles. Why? It’s actually not just a result of our society and what we believe looks attractive. Testosterone is needed to build muscle mass and, while ladies’ bodies do produce it, we produce it in much smaller amounts than men. This means it’s significantly easier for men to bulk up than for women, no matter what your gym workout plan may be.
It’s no secret that women are naturally far more flexible than men. That means physical activities like yoga and certain types of dance come more easily to us. This may be one reason that yoga studios are dominated by women.
We see women heading to the gym, switching up their workout routine, often depending on the day of the week. This isn’t as common with men. Men generally pick one or two focus areas and pursue them whole-heartedly. Women, on the other hand, take a more balanced approach. This could mean workouts for women actually take much more time to show results than men’s do, but we also work our entire bodies.
-“His and Her Fitness” WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/his-hers-fitness
-“Workouts mean different things to men and women” Chron: http://www.chron.com/news/health/article/Workouts-mean-different-things-to-men-and-women-4919815.php
-“Do Women Work Harder Than Men in Interval Workouts?” Runner’s World
-Photo courtesy of Ambro/freedigitalphotos.net