Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testes. It plays an important role in male sexual development and function.
In men, low levels of testosterone are associated with decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, and other symptoms.
Testosterone is also known as the ‘male sex hormone’ because it is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics such as facial hair, increased muscle mass, and deepened voice.
Exercise has been shown to improve testosterone levels in both young and older men. This means that regular exercise can boost your energy level, mood, and overall health.
In this article, we will discuss how exercise affects testosterone levels, what types of exercises affect testosterone, and which exercises may be best suited for increasing testosterone levels.
The Importance Of Testosterone Levels
Testosterone is one of the most essential hormones in our body. It’s essential for proper growth and development during puberty, and it helps maintain bone density throughout life.
It also plays a key role in maintaining healthy blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels.
Low testosterone levels have been linked to high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even prostate cancer.
Testosterone production begins in the fetal period, peaks around age 20, and then declines gradually until death.
Although testosterone levels decline after age 30, they continue to produce small amounts of the hormone into old age.
Testosterone is made from cholesterol, and is stored in fat cells. When we eat food, our bodies break down the fats into fatty acids.
These fatty acids enter the liver, where they are converted into ketones (a type of fuel) or used for making steroids like testosterone.
How Does Exercise Affect Testosterone?
When we perform physical activity, our muscles release chemicals called ‘endorphins’.
Endorphins are natural painkillers that make us feel good. They’re released when we exercise and help reduce stress and anxiety.
Endorphins also stimulate the pituitary gland to release more endorphin-producing hormones called ‘corticotropin releasing factor’, or CRF.
CRF stimulates the adrenal glands to release more cortisol — another hormone that makes us feel good.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that regulates many functions including metabolism, immune response, inflammation, and blood pressure.
Cortisol is generally considered bad news for testosterone levels as high cortisol levels have been found to decrease testosterone levels.
However, studies show that short bursts of intense exercise can actually increase testosterone levels.
A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that two hours of cycling at 90% VO2max increased testosterone levels in men.
Another study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine showed that just 15 minutes of running at 85% VO2max increased serum testosterone levels by about 10%.
What Types Of Exercises Can Boost Testosterone?
There are several ways you can exercise to raise your testosterone levels. The following list shows some of the most effective exercises:
1. Weight lifting – weight training increases muscle mass, which leads to higher levels of testosterone. This includes bench pressing, squatting, deadlifting, and barbell curls.
2. Running – running improves cardiovascular fitness, which increases oxygen flow to the brain, leading to better mental performance. It also raises testosterone levels.
3. Swimming – swimming lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, which reduces risk factors for prostate cancer. It also boosts testosterone levels.
4. Cycling – cycling improves cardiovascular health and endurance, which decreases risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It also increases testosterone levels.
5. Strength Training – strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which produces more testosterone than fat tissue. This includes push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, dips, and bicep curls.
6. Yoga – yoga helps improve flexibility, balance, and posture, all of which improve overall well-being. It also increases testosterone.
7. Pilates – Pilates improves core strength and stability, which prevents injuries. It also increases testosterone because it’s an excellent form of cardio.
8. Aerobic Dancing – aerobic dancing burns calories while improving coordination, balance, and stamina. It also raises testosterone.
9. Stretching – stretching relieves tension and encourages proper body alignment. It also increases testosterone as it improves circulation and oxygen flow to the brain.
10. Jumping Rope – jumping rope is great for kids and adults alike. It strengthens the heart, lungs, and legs. It also increases testosterone since it requires quick movements.
11. Bodyweight Exercises – bodyweight exercises include push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, planks, and chin-ups. They’re easy on the joints and muscles, but they require a lot of focus and concentration.
12. Boxing / Kickboxing – boxing and kickboxing are both forms of self-defense that build strength and agility. They also boost testosterone since they require fast movement.
13. Tennis – tennis improves hand-eye coordination and reaction time. It also enhances physical fitness and stamina. It also increases testosterone due to its high impact nature.
14. Soccer – soccer improves speed, coordination, and strength. It also increases testosterone by requiring quick reactions and fast reflexes.
15. Golf – golf improves strength, coordination, and agility. It also raises testosterone since it involves intense leg movements.
16. Basketball – basketball improves coordination and agility. It also increases testosterone, especially if played competitively.
17. Volleyball – volleyball improves strength, power, and agility. It can be played indoors or outdoors, so you don’t need a gym membership. It also raises testosterone by increasing muscle mass.
18. Softball – softball improves strength, power, coordination, and agility, making it one of the best sports for men. It also raises testosterone because it requires quick reflexes and strong arms.
19. Frisbee – Frisbee improves hand-eye coordination, agility, and reaction time. It’s a fun way to exercise without leaving your home. It also boosts testosterone since it requires fast movements.
20. Horseback Riding – horseback riding improves balance, coordination, and agility in addition to building muscle mass. It also raises testosterone levels.
To conclude, exercise has been proven to increase your testosterone levels. The most effective types of exercise include weightlifting, running, aerobics, and jogging.
However, there are other ways to raise testosterone, such as through making dietary adjustments and taking supplements.