Mechanics of breathing during exercise in men and women: sex versus body size differences?

Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2008 Jul;36(3):128-34. doi: 10.1097/JES.0b013e31817be7f0.


Women have smaller airways and lung volumes and lower resting maximal expiratory flow rates relative to men. Female athletes develop expiratory flow limitation more frequently than male athletes, and they have greater increases in end-expiratory and end-inspiratory lung volume at maximal exercise. Women use a greater fraction of their ventilatory reserve and have a higher metabolic cost of breathing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Size / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Respiratory Mechanics / physiology*
  • Sex Factors