The Exercise Gender Gap

By Lee Anna Sherman

Men exercise more than women do — 18 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity for women versus 30 minutes for men, on average — a study has found.

This is bad news for women, who are more prone to “metabolic syndrome” — a cluster of risk factors including so-called “stubborn belly fat” often targeted in diet ads. Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent or shed extra tummy pounds along with twin health worries high cholesterol and high blood pressure. But that’s not all. Exercise also can boost mood and buoy optimism, say the study’s authors Bradley Cardinal of OSU and former OSU student Paul Loprinzi, now at Bellarmine University in Kentucky.

“Those who get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day are less likely to be depressed, less likely to have high cholesterol and less likely to have metabolic syndrome,” the researchers conclude.

Exercise habits start in childhood. But even for adults, it’s never too late to change. Pressed for time? Solutions can be as simple as spurning the elevator and climbing the stairs. Even pacing while talking on the phone can enhance your health, the researchers say.