We ladies can’t help but drool a little over the handsome dudes from around the world competing in Sochi this year—amiright? They’re strong, they’re fast, and they have high endurance. What’s not to love? And it turns out that this ogling might be biologically programmed. New research from the Royal Society journal found that women may have evolved to find men with higher physical endurance more attractive.
The study had women look at 40 photos of cyclists taken before the 2012 Tour de France and rate them on facial attractiveness. The women were told the cyclists’ ages, heights, weights, and nationalities, but not their race time. A surprising trend immerged: The cyclists that women found more attractive had better performance times during the race, even though the women did not know how fast they rode when they made their judgments. In fact, the top 10 percent of cyclists scored 25 percent higher on attractiveness scores than the slowest 10 percent.
Does this mean that endurance performance is written on men’s faces? Maybe. Study author Eric Postma suggests that women may have evolved to find men with higher endurance as more attractive because picking a mate who could run farther, faster, and longer would ensure more resources for her and her offspring.
So the next time you find yourself eyeing other marathon runners, cyclists, or triathletes, remember that you might be able to send a wink to the fastest one, even before they cross the starting line.
And hotness aside, increasing endurance can help you reach your fitness goals. Whether you’ve got one X chromosome or two, work out harder and longer to become sexier.