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The Best Time to Challenge a Man to a Race
In her new book, The First 20 Minutes: The Myth-Busting Science that Shows How We Can Walk Farther, Run Faster, and Live Longer, Reynolds pulls together tons of health and fitness studies, correcting misconceptions and turning new research into useful advice (she shares some her favorite ideas in this month's O magazine). Among the many insights in this book, one relatively small factoid especially intrigued me. Reynolds writes about Danish experiments that showed that after both men and women reduced or stopped their workouts, the women didn't lose their training benefits as quickly as the men. The explanation has to do with hormones (doesn't it always, especially when it comes to gender differences?). The study author told Reynolds that estrogen was protecting the women "against fast muscle and collagen loss when she is inactive"--like during pregnancy.
I now have a secret weapon that may help me outrun my husband (once we're both back in race shape): I'm going to challenge him to a sprint after we go on vacation together. Perhaps the R&R will cause him to peter out just a tiny bit--which will be enough to give me the competitive advantage I've been looking for. And honestly, even if he still zooms by me, my new understanding about the female ability to bounce back will ease my guilt about taking a break from exercise.
More surprising ways that women have an edge
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.