Women can process oxygen more quickly than men when they start to exercise, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo.

Quick oxygen uptake places less strain on the body’s cells and is an important measure of aerobic fitness.

The findings are contrary to the popular assumption that men’s bodies are more naturally athletic.

The study found that women’s muscles extract oxygen from the blood faster, which, scientifically speaking, indicates a superior aerobic system. By processing oxygen faster, women are less likely to accumulate molecules linked with muscle fatigue, effort perception and poor athletic performance.

They don’t know why women have faster oxygen uptake (yet), but this could change the way we approach assessment and athletic training down the road.

The study was published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.

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