While men may be physically faster and stronger, women have more endurance, researchers say. Women’s muscles are able to tolerate long stretches of muscle activity and feel less fatigue compared to men who have similar athleticism.
A small study from the University of British Columbia conducted a natural muscle activity experiment and found that men were able to complete muscular movements faster and with more strength. However, they became tired faster than their female colleagues, Tech Times reports.
There are previous studies showing that women tend to do better than men when it comes to muscle endurance in isometric muscle tests, which look at muscle activity in inert conditions, said Brian Dalton, author on the study. He added,
We wanted to find out if that’s true during more dynamic and practical everyday movements.
Dalton, along with scientists from the University of Oregon and University of Guelph employed 17 participants of nine women and eight women. All the volunteers had similar physical fitness and athletic levels.
The participants were hooked onto sensors that could track their muscles’ power, speed, electrical activity and torque. They were all asked to flex one foot 200 times, as fast as they could. This would mimic the same natural muscle movements needed in daily activities such as walking and standing.
Dalton said that the researchers monitored the calf muscles as well, as these are used in daily activities as well. But the result from the isolated foot muscles still applies to other muscle groups.
The results showed that while the men’s muscle movements were quick and powerful at first, they slowed down as the men got tired. The women, on the other hand, did not exhibit the same level of exhaustion. Dalton noted, “If ever an ultra-ultra-marathon is developed, women may well dominate in that arena.”
Dalton hopes that this study can be used for practical purposes, such as coming up with work-related activities to increase endurance in men, while cutting back on fatigue. “Both sexes have valuable physical abilities…There’s no battle at all. Maybe more of a balance of the sexes,” Dalton concluded.
The study was published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.