Endurance Differences between the sexes

Women aren’t universally faster or stronger than men are, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be better at certain athletic endeavors—in particular, endurance sports such as long-distance running.

A 2000 University of Colorado study showed that, in certain stamina-related exercises, women’s endurance was almost twice that of men in the purest terms: exertion over time. Solely in terms of time, the numbers are more impressive: Women were able to exercise for about 75 percent longer than men could.

Why the advantage? It may be hormone related. In 2003, The Boston Globe reported, «Estrogen…offers women an edge in endurance. Research suggests [it] has a protective effect on muscles, making women less prone to soreness. It may also delay fatigue.«

«Women tend to pace themselves better,» noted a 2010 Chicago Tribune article. «Studies show men, perhaps fueled by testosterone, go out too hard, too soon, and end up bonking more often than women.«

There may also be a simpler explanation: Women tend to have higher percentages of body fat, and layers of fat help regulate body temperature. Couple this with the fact that estrogen seems to protect muscles, and it’s clear how the whole package is better equipped for a long trek.