Male runners go the extra mile to impress women

Now that’s going the extra mile: Men who exercise with female partners push themselves harder to impress them through ‘sexual display strategy’

  • Men paired with a woman ran at average of 5.85mph; while those with a same-sex partner went at 4.86mph
  • Even men in a stable relationship put on a show to impress their female partner
  • Single men pushed themselves hardest, scientists at East Carolina University found 

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 mile-an-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. 

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. (File image)


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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.’

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. (File image)

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