Conventional wisdom about one of the differences between men and women may have just flown out the window.

A research team at the University of Waterloo has found that during workouts, female bodies start to process oxygen faster than male ones – something that’s considered a key indicator of aerobic fitness.

Richard Hughson, a research chair at the Schlegel University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging who worked on the study, says the common perception is that men are more naturally fit than women.

While it remains true that men have higher fitness peaks than women, he says, the study shows that women demonstrate more aerobic fitness than men at the same level.

In general, the study found that women were able to process oxygen about 30 per cent faster than men while walking on a treadmill.

“We found that women’s muscles extract oxygen from the blood faster, which, scientifically speaking, indicates a superior aerobic system,” Hughson said in a press release.

The research team’s study has been published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.