We don’t need to tell you twice that women are total badasses. But what you may not know is that the female body has some secret abilities that the male body simply doesn’t. It’s science! Our bodies perform differently than those of the men, particularly when it comes to physical activity. You may not think about it when you muster the energy to run another mile, lift heavier, or hold that yoga pose for a few seconds longer, but it’s important to celebrate our strength. In honor of Women’s History Month, fitness professionals share the incredible ways that the female body is super strong. From our impressive cardio endurance to how we push through pain, you’re about to be super-inspired:
Women are more flexible.
Even if you can’t touch your toes (yet, anyway), chances are high you can outdo most of the men in your life when it comes to the various ways you maneuver and shift your body. According to physical therapist and personal trainer Lauren Lobert, PT, DPT, OMPT, CSCS, this is due to our unique balance of mobility and stability, both of which contribute to our fitness performance. As a bonus, this super skill means we are less likely to get injured, thanks to our innate grace and fast-paced reactions.
We have stronger aerobic endurance.
Women clearly hold the mental and physical willpower and threshold to endure—ahem, childbirth. From fitness trainer Miriam Amselem’s experience, female clients can outlast in aerobic training and push through an entire workout. Often times, her male clients require a break or work far too intensely at the beginning and burn out fast.
Her experience is backed by science. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism found that female athletes are able to process and absorb oxygen faster than men. “While men are actually stronger when it comes to powering up and muscle strength, women are more powerful when it comes to endurance training and can keep going in exercise longer,” Amselem says.
Women are more sensitive to stress.
Though it may not seem like a positive attribute, the more tuned in to your body you are, the better you can manage your energy. In other words: When you’re aware of your physical and emotional limits, you can alter your routine to benefit you physically and mentally. “Female bodies are way more sensitive to changes, especially in stress levels,” Lobert says. “Therefore, it’s important to consider not only your emotional stress but also the physical stress you are placing on your body.”
This is critical when it comes to injury prevention. Women can—and do—push themselves to the limit, but we’re acutely aware of when we reach that limit. So, we won’t push ourselves to the point of damaging our muscles. Recovery is a crucial part of any fitness routine. By taking the required time to let our muscles heal and adapt, we can make greater physical gains.
Women are better multitaskers.
Packed your gym bag the night before? Check. Selected your workout routine for the a.m.? Done. Worked up a sweat, showered, and got ready for work by 9 a.m.? No prob. Part of the hurdle of maintaining a fitness routine is managing various obligations in every corner of your life—and women have this down. Females can carve out time for a workout, prep a healthy meal, send off a client report, and still have the energy for cocktails. Why? We focus on the task at hand, check it off, and move on. “Women can juggle multiple tasks at one time and do it without blinking an eye,” says celebrity personal trainer Chrissy Lundgren. She explains that, like all her time, a woman’s workout time is very valuable and that women are conditioned to manage tasks in the workday or at home better and with fewer hang-ups along the way.
Women are built to survive.
It’s not the apocalypse quite yet. But if you’re training for an obstacle course race, you may have better odds than your male pal. As Amselem explains, women live longer than men in nearly all populations, and baby girls can survive harsher conditions than baby boys. This points to our ability to survive and problem solve—even if it’s just an army crawl underwire or the last burpee in a boot camp routine. It’s not all thanks to physicality—it’s also the company we seek and foster. “Women have survived for longer than men under extreme conditions, such as famines,” Amselem adds. “We might outlast men due to emotional strength and support we have from socializing with other women.”
So, women of the world, celebrate yourself, your strength, and your female connections this month and every month. There’s plenty to cheer about.