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Research unveils strong exercise performance by women during menstrual cycles

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eMediNexus    31 January 2023

A general conception prevailing among most people is that menstrual cycle hormonal changes affect exercise capacity; hence 90% of studies on exercise performance and fatigability do not involve female volunteers. 

 

However, a recent study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, revealed that women performed well and were exercising vigorously during the menstrual cycle. This was supported by blood tests and ovulation tests.

 

The study included seven women and ten men who participated in the rigorous cycling sessions; the women did so three times during their menstrual cycles, which were confirmed by blood and ovulation tests, and the men twice at 10-day intervals. Researchers measured the heart and respiration rates during the workouts to evaluate participant performance.

 

The researchers stated that women who participated in the study frequently said that their menstrual cycles affected how they felt and how well they expected to perform, but the quantitative outcomes revealed "absolutely no change,." Although it is generally known that hormones like oestrogen affect how well blood flows to muscles and how well arteries dilate, these underlying mechanisms "didn′t equate to reduced overall performance."

 

The study showed why it′s important to involve women in studies. Menstrual cycles had no impact on how often women exercised, but there were significant disparities between how women′s and men′s endurance functions. For example, even after controlling for muscle mass, women still achieved exhaustion from muscle fatigue roughly 18% faster than males, which may be related to women′s bodies having larger energy reserves.

 

Experts concluded that more studies are necessary to understand how irregular menstruation could affect exercise and remove the thinking that hormonal variations during the menstrual cycle affect exercise ability.

 

(Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/health/womens-exercise-performance-increase-during-menstrual-cycles-research-101675060122745.htm)

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