Women are less likely than men to get their daily 30 minutes of exercise, increasing their chances of developing metabolic syndrome and depression, a US study has revealed.
Researchers at the Oregan State University followed a sample of 1000 participants and analysed their daily physical activity. They found that on average men exercised for about 30 minutes a day while women only got in around 18 minutes a day of “moderate to vigorous exercise”.
"Those who get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day are less likely to be depressed, less likely to have high cholesterol and less likely to have metabolic syndrome," said study co-author Paul Loprinzi.
Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors (including high cholesterol and blood pressure) that together increase the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
"It's pretty striking what happens to you if you don't meet that 30 minutes a day of activity," said the study's other co-author, Bradley Cardinal.
The participants’ daily physical activity was measured by an accelerometer, which tracks a person’s movements, and the links between activity, inactivity, metabolic syndrome and depression were reviewed.
Results showed that more than a third of the women had metabolic syndrome and one fifth displayed depression symptoms.
"Women in our sample had better health behaviour – they were much less likely to smoke for instance – but the lack of activity still puts them at risk," Cardinal said.
He added: "The key message here is to get that 30 minutes of exercise every day because it reduces a great deal of risk factors."
The authors suggested one interesting reason as to why women get less exercise than men.
"Research has shown that around ages 5 or 6 these patterns begin, Parents tend to be more concerned with the safety of girls, and have more restrictive practices around outdoor time and playtime than with boys," said Cardinal.
Women in the study said many household and parenting responsibilities took a huge chunk out of their time and was the reason why they did not get enough exercise.