In The News: Women Use More Oxygen Than Men During Physical Activity.

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Next time you have trouble keeping up with your husband, remind him that his body uses oxygen a little more efficiently than yours.

“Researchers have found that if you set a healthy man and a healthy woman in a room and ask them to exercise for the same amount of time, the woman’s respiratory muscles will demand more oxygen to complete the task.


During the research which spanned over a course of four days, researchers had healthy women and men complete 500 experimental exercises to test how hard their respiratory muscles had to work and how much oxygen they were using to finish the same physical exercises.

Previous research had indicated that women’s airways are narrower than that of men — even between two people with lungs of equal size— and, thus, that moving the same amount of oxygen through these channels costs more for women than for men. 

Study authors placed a balloon in each person’s esophagus and stomach, and had them complete incremental exercises on a stationary bike. They measured the study participants’ ventilation and whole-body oxygen consumption at sub-maximal and maximal levels.

Those levels fluctuated throughout the tests. At the lowest level, the exercise equated to riding a bike on a flat sidewalk and at the highest level simulated riding a bike as fast as possible at a steep incline.

Study participants then mimicked the breathing patterns associated with their incremental exercises while sitting on the bikes but not exercising.

Despite a linear relationship between increased breathing and the respiratory muscles’ oxygen uptake among the men and women, the efficiency of these muscles was significantly lower in women. That discrepancy was most pronounced at maximal exercise.”

The researchers say knowing this could help improve treatments for women who have diseases that affect their heart and lungs.

References & Further Reading:
1. Fox News
2. Photo Credit: Onsugar.com

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