Good news, girls! A study has found that exercise extends life (we knew that anyway!), but that women need to do significantly less exercise to derive the same health benefits as men (that's new!).

This is the result of a study that was conducted in a US-Chinese project with 412,000 participants (of which 55% were women) over a period from 1997 to 2019. The study was carried out by a research team led by Martha Gulati from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and Hongwei Ji from Tsinghua University in Beijing. The results were published in the medical journal „Journal of the American College of Cardiology“.

For women, 140 minutes of exercise per week is sufficient.
The researchers wanted to determine to what extent the risk of death (from cardiovascular diseases) decreases through physical activities. Men were able to reduce their risk of death by an average of 15% through regular exercise, women by 24% – compared to people who do not exercise.

According to the study, men achieve the maximum reduction in their risk of death when they engage in about 300 minutes of exercise per week. For women, just 140 minutes are sufficient. While 140 minutes of exercise still needs to be completed, the study did not take into account physical activity, such as household chores, which also occur.

"The study is not suggesting that women should exercise less. Instead, it shows women who do not get enough exercise that even relatively few workouts can have a positive effect," researcher Ji explains in a press release.

Women get more out of every minute of intense activity.
Just a bit of regular exercise can extend life. When men trained very intensively for 110 minutes a week, their risk of death decreased by 19%. Women reached this value after just 57 minutes of intense training per week.

But exercise not only helps to reduce the risk of death, but it also significantly reduces the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease. Through exercise, men could reduce the risk of disease by 14%, women even by 36%.

So girls, put on your sneakers, and off you go!

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Anke Dembowski

Anke Dembowski is a financial journalist and author of various investment fund-related and other financial books. She is also a co-founder of the "Fondsfrauen" network.

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