Men Are Faster, but They Tire Faster, Too

Scientists say women 'can outlast men by a wide margin'
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2017 7:02 AM CDT
Sure, Guys, You're Fast and Strong. But Women Outlast You
Men's muscles fatigue faster than women's.   (Getty Images / alvarez)

Guys might be good at carrying heavy furniture but they tire faster than their female counterparts, new research out of the University of British Columbia shows. "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 UBC researcher Brian Dalton in a press release. "And the answer is pretty definitive: women can outlast men by a wide margin." Collaborating with the University of Guelph and University of Oregon, the researchers report in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism that a handful of men and women were asked to flex their foot against sensors as fast as they could 200 times.

Those sensors captured several metrics, including speed, power, torque, and even electrical activity in their muscles. The men were both faster and more powerful, but they also became more fatigued "much faster" than the women. Dalton notes that in ultra-trail running, men tend to be faster, but women tend to be far less tired; in fact in Outside, one runner calls for separate goals for women. "If ever an ultra-ultra-marathon is developed, women may likely dominate," Dalton says. But as for the Mars-vs.-Venus battle, Dalton jokes, "there's no battle at all. Maybe more of a balance of the sexes." More seriously: "Both sexes have valuable physical abilities and it only makes sense that we study and develop the tools to afford them the best advantage." (Sex gets better with age for women.)

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