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KoRo Womens's Race Berlin

Women's hearts beat differently - especially when it comes to running

Women took centre stage at the KoRo Women's Run Berlin 2023. / SCC EVENTS - Camera 4

Endurance sports offer many benefits - in addition to being fun, there are many positive effects on health, with the cardiovascular system front and centre. Of course, this applies to both women and men. However, there are things that set women apart from men when it comes to cardio performance. We'll share which ones and what this means for your training for the KoRo Women's Run Berlin.

In medicine and also in sports training theory, the male body is still considered the norm. However, the female body and the female heart are different from the male body. Women's hearts actually offer many advantages.

The female heart muscle is smaller. In order to perform at its best, it beats more frequently on average - up to 10 beats more per minute. This is not a disadvantage, as it means that women can and should train at a higher heart rate than men. 

Faster to training success

This is the reason why women's hearts adapt much faster to exercise. As a new study shows, the effects of training set in much faster in women than in men, meaning that training success comes sooner. In addition, women have effective heart protection at a younger age: in the first half of life, the female hormone oestrogen protects the heart, which is why women are less affected by heart disease, especially heart attacks. 

Two happy participants celebrate their success at the KoRo Women's Run 2023. / SCC EVENTS - Jean-Marc Wiesner

Changes in later years

The body changes as we get older. Moderate endurance sport now becomes even more important and helps you to stay healthy and fit and to develop a zest for life. 

With the decline in oestrogen during the menopause, women's hearts then are at a similar risk to men's hearts. Endurance sports such as running or walking now pay off in several ways. Exercising the heart muscle improves blood circulation, the arteries dilate and oxygen uptake improves. Here too, women benefit more than men from training. The risk of heart attacks or other heart diseases gets reduced more quickly.

It's not just the cardiovascular system that changes as we get older. The metabolism also readjusts. Women also have other advantages here: they are generally lighter. This puts less strain on their musculoskeletal systems during sport. And they are able to organise their energy more evenly, i.e. better, and utilise nutrients, especially fats, more effectively. Fats are an important macronutrient in endurance sports in particular and play a role especially during prolonged, moderate-intensity endurance exercise. Because of their ability to utilise fats better - i.e. more efficiently - women are even the better athletes when it comes to endurance.