Sexual Health

Does Working Out Increase Testosterone?

Testosterone is a male sex hormone. It forms part of many hormones that are secreted by the endocrine system. Both men and women have testosterone in their bodies.

The concentration of testosterone in men is significantly higher than in women. In men, the testes are the main parts that produce testosterone. In turn, the hormone helps with several vital functions. Testosterone levels start to increase during puberty. After the age of 30, testosterone levels begin to decline1. 

In most cases, testosterone levels decrease gradually. This ensures men do not experience significant side-effects.

Some men experience a more rapid decline in testosterone. This can lead to low testosterone levels. There are health risks associated with a deficiency in testosterone2. 

It has been suggested that exercise may increase testosterone levels. There is some evidence behind these claims.

Not all types of workouts are helpful, however. We take a look at the connection between physical activity and testosterone. We will also consider the types of exercises that can help to increase levels of this hormone. 

The Link Between Exercise And Testosterone

A lot of men ask does exercise increase testosterone. Exercise is essential for everyone. Failure to exercise enough leads to many adverse health effects. A man is at a higher risk of gaining weight when he does not exercise enough. This leads to obesity.

Being sedentary increases the risk of diabetes, too, as well as heart disease3. All of these conditions can become life-threatening. It also requires daily treatment to manage the conditions. 

The right exercise routine can offer several potential benefits. This includes an improvement in cardiovascular health. There is a lower risk of developing obesity in men who exercise regularly too. Some studies suggest that physical activity helps with the production of testosterone too4. 

Testosterone Production

To understand how exercise may affect testosterone, it is essential to understand how the production of the hormone works. The gonads produce these anabolic hormones. This refers to the testicles in the male body.

There are specific cells that produce testosterone in the testes. These are called Leydig cells. In women, testosterone is also produced. The ovaries produce testosterone in women. Only a small amount of testosterone is produced in the female body. This helps to provide certain functions without causing masculine features to develop. 

The adrenal glands also produce a small amount of the hormone. Testosterone is classified as an androgen. It stimulates masculine features that are generally associated with men. Both external and internal reproductive organ development depend on testosterone during pregnancy.

In adulthood, testosterone is crucial for sperm and other reproductive functions. It also helps with the stimulation of libido. This is why some men with low testosterone experience signs of erectile dysfunction. 

Testosterone production affects other hormones too. This includes follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. The body converts testosterone into another hormone. This hormone is known as dihydrotestosterone. It is also classified as an androgen. 

The endocrine system regulates the production of testosterone. Two parts of the brain help to regulate testosterone production. These parts include the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus secretes the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone. This secretion is in response to the amount of testosterone currently in the body.

The gonadotrophin-releasing hormone stimulates the pituitary gland. In turn, this gland produces the luteinizing hormone. The luteinizing hormone then travels toward the man’s gonads. Here, it stimulates the gonads to produce testosterone. The amount of luteinizing hormone sent to the gonads depends on how much testosterone is in the body. 

How Exercise Affects Testosterone Levels

There are different ways that exercise may affect levels of testosterone in the male body. First of all, not exercises help to boost testosterone. This is something that men need to consider. It is especially important if the man has low levels of the hormone. Adopting a random exercise routine may not yield any benefits. 

Two particular areas are focused on when this topic is discussed. Exercises implemented should focus on these two areas. This would yield more benefits.

The two areas that should be addressed when looking at the relationship between exercise and testosterone include:

Weight Management

Obesity is a common problem among men. This refers to high body weight. A man is obese if he has a BMI that is higher than 30. There are several health concerns linked to obesity.

Researchers have found that obesity holds a strong relationship with low testosterone. When a man gains too much weight, there is a high risk of experiencing a reduction in testosterone production. 

This is a complicated situation. When a man has low testosterone, he has a higher risk of becoming obese too6. This is because testosterone helps with the distribution of fat. Poor testosterone levels lead to more fat accumulating in the abdomen. 

Fat cells cause testosterone to be metabolized into another hormone. This hormone is called estrogen. The estrogen hormone is the primary sex hormone in women. The male body needs a small amount of estrogen. When obese, too much testosterone is converted into estrogen. This can cause adverse effects on men. Testosterone is reduced.

The increase in estrogen also leads to some health problems. Gynecomastia is a common concern with high estrogen levels in men. This is a condition where breast tissue grows more extensive than normal. It causes a man to have larger breasts. Erectile problems are also common in men with high estrogen levels7. 

Exercise helps with weight management. The right types of exercises help to increase the number of calories burnt during the day. This helps the man achieve a calorie deficit. In turn, it helps the man lose excess weight. Exercise can also be used to maintain current weight. 

Muscle Growth

There is another significant benefit associated with exercise. Specific exercises help with muscle growth. Muscle tissue is crucial for men. It has several potential benefits for the health of the body.

One thing that needs to be considered is the link between muscle mass and testosterone. An increase in muscle mass helps to boost testosterone levels. Men with more lean muscle mass tend to have more testosterone in their bodies. 

What Are The Best Exercises To Increase Testosterone?

There are many exercises that men can participate in. Some of these exercises focus on providing specific benefits. This may include reducing weight by burning calories quickly. Other practices may help to provide an increase in lean muscle mass

Men need to understand that not all exercises are good for increasing testosterone. Some types of exercises may simply fail to produce any effective results. This is why a physical activity program needs to be developed. It ensures the man knows exactly what exercises to perform. In turn, the boost in testosterone is likely to be higher. 

We take a closer look at some important exercises that men can perform to help them increase their testosterone levels. 

Resistance Training

Resistance training is one of the most important exercises men should perform. These are the types of exercises that focus on providing a boost in muscle mass. When lean muscle mass increases, there is likely to be a boost in testosterone production too. 

Resistance exercise holds more benefits than simply increasing testosterone. Researchers already found that weight lifting and other types of resistance training activities help to balance hormones. This means testosterone will increase, sure. It also means that other hormones will be balanced in the process.

Estrogen is a good example. Resistance training increases lean muscle mass and helps to burn fat cells in the process. Reducing fat cells means less testosterone will be turned into estrogen. 

Men must focus on all muscle groups. A lot of men tend to focus on their major muscle groups. The smaller muscle groups also need to be addressed with resistance training. This includes the shoulders, the calves, and the biceps.

The entire body should be strengthened. This not only helps with boosting testosterone but also provides a better balance in the body’s muscles. It will speed up the metabolism. A man also reduces their risk of injury when they work on all muscle groups. 

Men should not push themselves too hard when they only get started with resistance training. There is a high risk of injury during the first few sessions when lifting weights.

The man needs to build up body strength first. Thus, starting with lower weight settings is a good idea. As the physical strength of the man increase, he can start adding more weight to the bar. The bench press is another option to consider when looking at resistance training

High Interval Training (HIT)

High interval training, often also called high-intensity interval training, is another useful option. Some studies have looked at how HIIT exercises affect men.

Many of these studies have focused on the effects that HIIT programs have on testosterone levels. The good news is several studies provide evidence behind the claims of HIIT activities increasing testosterone. 

One of the more recent studies was conducted in 20178. The study was published in the Journal of Endocrine Connection. The goal was to see how exactly HIIT programs affect men. Several factors were tracked during the course of the study. Testosterone levels were tested. Muscle power was also taken into consideration. 

The researchers found that HIIT exercises increase the level of free serum testosterone in the male body. This is the type of testosterone that the body can use. It is essential to consider free testosterone, as some testosterone hormones are bound to certain chemicals in the body.

These hormones cannot be freely used. The study also found that these exercises provided a significant enhancement in muscle power and strength. 

Exercises That Don’t Increase Testosterone

While many exercises can help increase testosterone, there are a few that may not be as effective. Men should realize which exercises will not help them. This ensures they spend their time focusing on more effective exercise protocols. 

People with vulvas will not experience an increase in testosterone when they participate in HIIT exercises. Men also need to realize that cardio is not an effective way of boosting testosterone. Cardio and aerobic exercise might help burn calories. This aids in the journey to losing excess weight. The problem, however, is that cardio itself does not increase muscle mass. 

There are more practical exercises. HIIT exercises, for example, burn calories and increases muscle mass at the same time. This makes it a more efficient option when looking to boost testosterone. 

Other Ways To Naturally Increase Testosterone

Exercise is only one of the many ways that men can increase their testosterone. This helps men avoid testosterone replacement therapy. There are other natural strategies that men can use too.

Men should implement a combination of these techniques into their lives. This will give them a better chance of increasing their testosterone levels. 

Other strategies that men should take into consideration to raise testosterone include:

  • Improving sleep is a critical factor for men with low testosterone. Rest is an important process. The body needs seven to nine hours of sleep every night. When we do not sleep enough, there are many risks we face. This includes a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease. Poor sleep may also contribute to a reduction in testosterone levels. 

  • Stress management is also essential. Too much chronic stress can cause a man to experience a reduction in their testosterone levels. An adverse connection exists between cortisol and testosterone. There are several stress management techniques that men can use. This includes meditation and yoga. Exercise also reduces stress. 

Conclusion

Testosterone is an important hormone in men. This hormone contributes to many functions. Bone health, heart health, and even sexual function depend on testosterone. As men age, they experience a decline in testosterone levels.

Certain exercises can help to increase testosterone. This ensures a man does not experience the side-effects of low testosterone. Not all types of physical activity help. Men should understand what exercises can boost their testosterone production. 

Sources

  1. World Journal of Clinical Cases. (2015) Review of health risks of low testosterone and testosterone administration. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4391003/
  2.  Korean Journal of Family Medicine. (2018) Sedentary Lifestyle and Cardiovascular Health. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788838/
  3. Piedmont Healthcare. The best exercises to increase testosterone. [online] Available at: https://www.piedmont.org/living-better/the-best-exercises-to-increase-testosterone
  4. You and your Hormones. Testosterone. [online] Available at: https://www.yourhormones.info/hormones/testosterone/
  5. WebMD. Low Testosterone and Your Health. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/men/what-low-testosterone-can-mean-your-health#1
  6. Endocrine Connections. (2017) HIIT produces increases in muscle power and free testosterone in male masters athletes. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5551442/

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