Women need to exercise for longer periods at a lower intensity in order to optimize fitness

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The typical clichés around exercise are that his idea of getting in shape is pumping iron, while she’d rather pull out the yoga mat. These are indeed stereotypes and there are plenty of women who rave about their latest triathlon and many men who are amazing yogis. However, there are real physiological differences between the sexes that may cause different responses to exercise.

A most substantial contributing factor to these differences depends on something called “muscle fiber type” and how our sex hormones affect it.

There are two types of muscle fibers: Type I fibers, which are great for long, sustained activity; and Type II fibers, which are well-suited for shorter, intense activity. Men possess a higher percentage of Type II fibers which, when combined with higher testosterone levels, makes them excel at “explosive performance,” or short, intense bursts of effort, like sprinting or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). …

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