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Are women more prone to injuries?

By Kat Carney
CNN Headline News

If you're starting an exercise program or a new sport, take it easy. You'll be less likely to get hurt.

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(CNN) -- It's that time of year when many people start trying to get into shape, but it may be more difficult for women than men.

In fact, when it comes to beginning an exercise program or trying out a new sport, men and women may not always be created equal.

Women may be seeing higher rates of injuries than men, research shows.

Starting in 1998, the British army required male and female recruits to go through the same basic training program. Until then, women had it somewhat easier.

Researchers found that the number of women who were injured during basic training jumped dramatically and that women were eight times more likely than men to be discharged for injuries.

The British concluded that differences in strength, bone mass and the length of their strides put women at a greater risk of getting hurt.

Another study puts a different spin on the situation. This time the subjects were females in the U.S. Army.

Like the British, researchers for this study found that women suffered from higher rates of injuries in basic training than men.

By the end of the training cycle, however, the women had narrowed the injury gap significantly, according to the study. These researchers concluded the level of fitness matters more than gender, and that women, on average, start out at lower levels than men.

There's a lesson in all this for those beginning to work out.

If you're starting an exercise program or a new sport, take it easy. You'll be less likely to get hurt, and when you've reached the level of fitness that you want -- go get 'em!

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