Women, Rejoice! A New Study Shows We Need Half the Exercise As Men To Be Healthy

Finally, a gender gap that’s working in our favor. A new study conducted by the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles found that women needed about two-and-a-half hours of moderate to vigorous exercise per week (think biking, running, or weight lifting) to reap maximal health benefits, while their male counterparts needed five.

More than 400,000 adults in the United States were analyzed for the study, which took into account not only the participants gender, but also their race and age. The participant pool was made up of 55 percent women aged 17 to 44, who tracked their “leisure-time physical activity”—sharing the frequency, length, intensity, and type of exercise they engaged in—for over 22 years. The study was also careful to note those who died during the study, especially if the death was cardiovascular related.

While the study doesn’t come to an exact conclusion, it points to a potential reason: Men typically have larger organs and larger potential capacity for lean muscle mass, which could result in need for longer exercise times and the differences seen here.

One thing to note: Of course, the study found that anybody who engaged in regular physical activity had a lower mortality rate than those who did not, regardless of gender. If you’re not quite ready to run yet, try walking–which has been proven to help with everything from sleep quality to depression.

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