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Sex Differences in the Pulmonary System Influence the Integrative Response to Exercise

Dominelli, Paolo B.1,2; Molgat-Seon, Yannick3,4; Sheel, A. William5

Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews: July 2019 - Volume 47 - Issue 3 - p 142–150
doi: 10.1249/JES.0000000000000188

Healthy women have proportionally smaller lungs and airways compared with height-matched men. These anatomical sex-based differences result in greater mechanical ventilatory constraints and may influence the integrative response to exercise. Our review will examine this hypothesis in healthy humans in the context of dynamic whole-body exercise.

Sex differences in the morphology of the pulmonary system influence the integrative response to dynamic whole-body exercise.

1Department of Anesthesia, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN;

2Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada;

3Centre for Heart and Lung Innovation, St. Paul’s Hospital;

4Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, and

5School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Address for correspondence: Paolo B. Dominelli, 200 University Ave W, Waterloo, ON, Canada, N2L 3C5 (E-mail:

Accepted for publication: February 13, 2019.

Editor: Sandra K. Hunter, Ph.D., FACSM.

Online date: February 26, 2019

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine