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Women and Fitness: Should Your Routine Be Different Than Your Man's?

Jan 11, 2011

Women and fitness are topics that have always been surrounded by many questions. One of the common questions is: should your fitness routine be different than your man's? Here, we explore the differences and similarities between the fitness routines of men and women.

Building Muscles

If you are fond of working out regularly, then you probably worry about developing large and bulky muscles. Before addressing this issue, it's important for you to understand the difference between male hormones and female hormones. As you probably know, men's bodies produce testosterone while women's bodies produce estrogen. Testosterone is a necessary hormone for increasing muscle mass. Women's bodies also produce testosterone, but only in very little amounts. Regularly working with weights and doing other types of resistance training will help you develop more toned and shapely muscles.

Since your body produces lower levels of testosterone, studies have shown that you need a fitness routine that is ten times harder than your man's in order to achieve the same muscle growth.

However, both men and women will benefit from resistance training if their goal is to lose body fat. Muscles help you burn calories and fat even when you are not physically active. Another reason to incorporate resistance training into your workout routine is that it can protect you from osteoporosis. Osteoporosis commonly afflicts women who are post-menopausal.

Metabolism and Calories

Since men are naturally endowed with more muscles, they also tend to have a faster rate of metabolism. This means that in a state of rest, they can burn more calories than women can. So if you are working out side by side with your man, don't be surprised if he loses more weight in a shorter period of time.

Flexibility

Men may tend to lose weight with less exercise than women, but when it comes to flexibility women tend to have the upper hand. Since women tend to be more flexible than men, they can easily engage in physical activities that require flexibility, such as Pilates and yoga.

Cardiovascular Health

Fitness routines of men and women can also have different effects on their cardiovascular health. The estrogen in pre-menopausal women helps protect them against heart attacks. However, when women do suffer from a heart attack, the episode is generally more severe.

According to studies, the body produces a protein known as HSP70 during intense exercise. This protein is able to protect your heart against tissue damage. The effects of this protein is counteracted by the hormone estrogen. So if you wish to benefit from the protein HSP70, the best thing to do would be to exercise during days when your estrogen level is low. This may mean exercising during most days of the week.

Another factor that might spell the difference between men and women's fitness routines is lung capacity. Since women's lungs are smaller than men's, women may find it harder to tolerate exercises under particular conditions. For instance, you might find yourself running out of breath when working out in high altitudes or in an environment with a high temperature.

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