In Focus:

Women Are Naturally Fitter Than Men

Conventional wisdom holds that men have the natural advantage when it comes to physical ability. But in one key measure of fitness, women actually come out on top, finds a small new study published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.

Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada directed nine women and nine men—all 18-30 year olds who were of similar body mass index—to walk on the treadmill. After a short warm-up, they were asked to walk at gradually increasing speeds and inclines, going until they had reached 80% of their maximum heart rate. Each person wore a face mask to measure how much oxygen they used and how much carbon dioxide they produced.

“The specific measurement we did in this study was to look at how quickly oxygen uptake increases when you go from a rest to exe

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