Many people are unaware that over 90% of studies on exercise performance and fatigue have not included female volunteers because it is believed that the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle affect exercise capacity, which, if If true, would have messed up the data and included women in the study. Very difficult.
A new study from researchers at Brigham Young University, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, shows why this assumption is wrong. Analyzing women’s exercise performance across menstrual cycles, the researchers found no variability in endurance range or performance: from workout to workout, women’s performance was just as consistent as men’s.
“Women with regular cycles performed similarly between a high-estrogen phase, a high-progesterone phase, and low concentrations of both during menstruation,” said Jessica Linde. , “That information raises a major hurdle. It shows that we shouldn’t exclude women from research based on the idea that their menstrual cycle outcomes are being skewed.”
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The study demonstrated why it is important to include women in research. While women’s menstrual cycles did not affect their exercise, there were significant differences between women’s and men’s endurance. For example, women tire of muscle fatigue about 18 percent faster than men, even when adjusting for muscle mass, possibly because women’s bodies naturally store more energy. can do.
“The assumption in exercise research has long been that women are just as short as men,” said Jason Gifford, professor of exercise science at BYU and co-author. “Our study shows that they are not, there are significant differences between how women and men exercise.
Including more women in research will help us improve our view of women’s physiology. For the study, seven women and 10 men completed intense cycling sessions, confirmed via blood draws and ovulation tests for women at three points during their menstrual cycles, and men at 10-day intervals. As As participants performed the exercises, the researchers measured heart and respiratory rates to assess performance.”
“Previous studies have looked at maybe one intensity of exercise across the menstrual cycle, but JESSICA was extremely comprehensive and looked at five. It was one of the most thorough studies ever done, and the data was extremely reassuring,” Gifford Told.
Although female participants often told researchers that their menstrual cycles affected how they felt and how well they expected to perform, their measurable results showed “absolutely no change.”
While hormones like estrogen are known to affect how well arteries dilate and how blood flows to muscles, those underlying processes “do not impair overall performance.”
Linde and Gifford were careful to note that the study focused only on cycling and included only women with menstrual disorders. More research is needed to determine how irregular menstruation may affect exercise.
Learning more about women’s exercise is especially important now that there are more female athletes than ever before — Linde, who is now continuing her research as a PhD student at Marquette University, describes herself as ‘one. I was inspired to do the research because of my experiences. Division I athlete in college. “I never really thought about my female physiology affecting my performance until I got injured,” Linde said.
“I think sometimes we don’t think about these questions. But in the last Olympics, the number of female and male athletes were finally equal. We have a lot of female athletes and women in general who are exercising And we want answers about how they perform, so we need to study them,” Linde added.