Male run­ners go the ex­tra mile to im­press women

The Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By Toby McDon­ald

MEN who ex­er­cise with a fe­male train­ing part­ner not only speed up their run­ning pace, they also travel a greater dis­tance than nor­mal, re­searchers have found.

On aver­age, they run a milean-hour faster and carry on for far longer when ac­com­pa­nied by a woman.

For the study, male vol­un­teers were paired with a fe­male stranger for run­ning train­ing.

The re­searchers noted that men, re­gard­less of their re­la­tion­ship sta­tus, in­dulged in a ‘sex­ual dis­play strat­egy’ while ex­er­cis­ing with a woman. Sin­gle men, they found, pushed them­selves hard­est. ‘When peo­ple are aware that po­ten­tial mates are ob­serv­ing their per­for­mances, they may al­ter their be­hav­iour – con­sciously or un­con­sciously – in or­der to make them­selves ap­pear more de­sir­able to th­ese in­di­vid­u­als,’ said psy­chol­o­gist Dr Michael Baker, of the East Carolina Univer­sity in the US. The sci­en­tists found that men paired with a woman ran at an aver­age of 5.85mph, whereas those with a same-sex part­ner went at 4.86mph.

‘In­di­vid­u­als who ex­er­cised with an op­po­site-sex part­ner trav­elled on aver­age 2.46 miles while those with same-sex part­ners went 1.87 miles,’ said Dr Baker. Even men in a sta­ble re­la­tion­ship put on a show to im­press their fe­male part­ner. Dr Baker said: ‘Given that run­ning in­creases heart rate, it is rea­son­able to sup­pose that ex­er­cis­ing with a po­ten­tial mate could re­sult in an in­creased fre­quency of mat­ing-re­lated thoughts and self-pre­sen­ta­tional be­hav­iour.’

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