Women who completed a trans-antarctic expedition, entailing vigorous physical training in preparation as well as extreme physical conditions during the expedition, showed no more negative health effects than expected in men. The study was presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual meeting in Glasgow. The study is the first to show that women are no more susceptible to adverse effects of extreme physical exertion than men.
Study first to show that women are no more susceptible to adverse effects of extreme physical exertion than men
In the past, it has been suggested that the female reproductive system and stress responses may be more sensitive to the effects of extreme physical activity. There has been evidence that vigorous physical exertion can suppress normal reproductive hormone activity in women, impair bone strength and increase stress hormones to a greater extent than in men. However, the reasons why there may be differences in these responses are not understood.
First all-female trans-antarctic expedition
Six women participating in the first all-female trans-antarctic expedition were assessed for the effects of extreme physical exertion on hormone levels and overall health. The study looked at several markers of health before and after the successful expedition. Markers included stress hormones, reproductive hormones, and metabolic hormones, as well as body weight and bone strength. The findings showed that not only were the reproductive hormones and bone strength maintained at healthy levels, but that many of the markers revealed delayed exercise-related benefit 2 weeks after the expedition.
Conclusion of the study
The overall conclusion of the study was that with proper training and preparation, the negative effects of vigorous physical exercise can be avoided, by both men and women. The study may help illuminate the need for proper training and maintenance for individuals who are employed in physically demanding jobs, as well as professional and semi-pro athletes.
- Gifford RM, Boos CJ, Reynolds RM, Woods DR. Recovery time and heart rate variability following extreme endurance exercise in healthy women. Physiol Rep. 2018;6(21):e13905.
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.