Do women respond differently than men to exercise?

David Buer
Yes, they do. Response to exercise for both men and women varies greatly based on individual genetics and hormone levels as well as what an individual’s needs and goals are. Simply put, men have higher testosterone levels, and different anatomy and physiology than women. Higher testosterone makes it easier for men to build muscle and lose fat more quickly.
A woman looking to build muscle needs to commit to a weight training program specifically designed for that goal, and adjust her diet to take in the healthy fuel her body needs to build up muscle while losing excess fat.
Jennifer A. Baima, MD
Neuromuscular Medicine
Yes. Not only do women have different anatomy than men, they have a different response to exercise. Women need to lift weights for a longer period of time than men to achieve similar results. They have to work harder at landing with their hips in line with their knees when running or jumping. Although oral and topical pain regimens are often the same, exercise protocols should be gender- based to allow for these differences in strength training response and lower limb alignment. Here at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we are working to explore these differences in order to provide the best treatment.

Yes. Women have different hormone levels as well as different anatomy and physiology than men.  Women may need to lift weights at different intensities compared to men to achieve similar results. Women are also more prone to conditions such as amenorrhea if they exercise excessively. Osteoporosis is more frequent in females, especially postmenopausal women, but exercise can reduce risk of osteoporosis.  Females participating in long distance running or those who train excessively are at risk to develop amenorrhea, which is a loss of menses. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.