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Gender, Exercise and Sporting Performance

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Task B3 Gender, Exercise and Sporting Performance Males and females rarely compete against each other in a sporting context. Aside from the obvious differences between genders there are a range of physiological differences that mean one gender would have an unfair advantage over the other. Hence the need for single sex competition. Females have some essential differences from males with regard to sports performance and this to some extent explains the differences between the sexes in terms of physical ability. Sociological thinking tends towards an increasing tendency for equality with females taking on more traditional male roles and the differences between the sexes are closing. Body Size The female skeleton is on average smaller and lighter than a male skeleton. Female skeletons have shorter appendicular components which will results in a smaller height and weight when compared to males. These skeletal differences have many implications not all of them disadvantageous. For example smaller lighter and shorter bones are helpful in events such as gymnastics when performances demand balance flexibility and agility. By contrast male gymnastics events make primary use of strength and explosive speed. Body composition One of the main differences between the genders that affect athletic performance is the difference in body composition. Males tend to have greater muscle mass and lower fat mass compared with females. ...read more.


This higher concentration of body fat generates a longer term energy store than can prove beneficial during training. Haemoglobin levels Males have slightly higher concentrations of haemoglobin in their blood than females. In theory therefore, males have increased capacity for oxygen delivery to the working muscles. Maximal oxygen consumption An untrained male will have an average absolute VO2 max of 3.5 litres per minute. An untrained female will have an average absolute VO2 max of 2 litres per minute which is 43 per cent less than a male. The main reason for this difference is that males are usually bigger than females and the difference in body composition between the genders. Females have approximately 10 per cent more body fat than males which will reduce their VO2 max because fat mass hinders performance. Research has shown that a female heart is slightly smaller relative to body size then the male heart. A relatively smaller heart would mean that a female's stroke volume is relatively lower than males. As cardiac output is the product of heart rate multiplied by stroke volume, for a female to maintain a certain cardiac output her heart must be faster then a males. Q= HR X SV Therefore body size and fat percentage, the difference in oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, plus differences in the size of the heart might explain the gender differences in VO2 max. ...read more.


This may have a detrimental effect on aerobic performance so training adaptations or iron supplementation may be required. Recovery Periods Recovery periods are largely dependent on an individual's level of fitness regardless of gender. However females have a tendency to have a slightly lower haemoglobin count than males which may lessen female recovery rates as glycogen levels are topped up (skeletal muscle, liver, kidneys and brain) and any muscle tissue damage is repaired after exercise. Anaerobic capacity Short term high intensity exercises that involve anaerobic power often show a significant difference between the capabilities of both male and female athletes. On the whole male athletes have far greater capacity for anaerobic power. This is due to a number of factors including increased body composition, muscular strength, neuro-muscular factors and of course all these factors use ATP. Aerobic capacity Aerobic capacity is particularly important for endurance athletes and an increased aerobic capacity will eventually lead to an increase in VO2 maximum. Females have lower natural haemoglobin counts, which means the oxygen carrying capabilities of their blood are less than those of males. However, trained females are successful in certain endurance based events. The fact that females carry more fat tissue than males means for trained athletes that there is an additional fuel supply on hand in greater quantities than in males. This will ultimately be of benefit in endurance based events. Word Count 1,423 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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