International Women’s Day, Estrogen, and Discount on Running for Women


Women think it’s odd that I know so much about their menstrual cycle. But I don’t think it’s odd at all
since many gynecologists and nearly all of the scientists who study women’s physiology are male.
What I like most about women’s physiology is how female runners can capitalize on their unique physiology
to run better. In honor of
International Women’s Day, here’s 5 facts about estrogen and women:
1) The amount of circulating estrogen has the biggest impact on a woman’s bone health. Any condition
that lowers estrogen level (such as amenorrhea or menopause) negatively affects bone health and is most
significant risk factor for osteoporosis in active women.
2) Estrogen shifts exercise metabolism toward a greater reliance on fat and less on carbohydrate (research
has shown that when male rats are given estrogen, they have less depletion of glycogen during
exercise, increased concentration of fatty acids in blood, and can exercise longer before becoming
exhausted). This greater reliance on fat gives women an advantage for very long endurance activities.
3) Estrogen acts on the brain’s hypothalamus to decrease body temperature, which explains why body
temperature is lower during the estrogen-dominant follicular phase of the menstrual cycle compared to
the progesterone-dominated luteal phase.
4) Estrogen can help women’s muscles recover faster because it diminishes muscle damage after a
workout and inhibits inflammation. Estrogen also influences the activation and proliferation of satellite
cells, which help repair muscle tissue after it has been damaged.
5) Most female endurance athletes can expect to perform better during times of the menstrual cycle
when estrogen is the dominant hormone. Estrogen is a runner-friendly drug.
In honor of International Women’s Day, get a 20% discount on a signed copy of Running for Women
with code WOMENSDAY.

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