Males are consistently reported as more physically active than females regardless of age or measure. Often, this difference results in females identified as under active and at risk of longterm poor health outcomes. In this paper a different perspective drawing on evidence from many sources is offered. Males and females gain different health benefits according to the level, mode and intensity of the physical activity. Some potential ramifications of these gender differences in health benefits are evident in the prevalence of hypokinetic diseases across the life span and the interpretation of measured physical activity levels and intensities. By focusing on these differences, this papers highlights the need to take a more divergent view of what exercise really means, and how it provides health needs differently for males and females. We identified important implications for public policy and physical activity guidelines.


gender difference; sex difference; exercise; health; physical activity guidelines

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