How You Can Naturally Increase Your Levels
The three primary anabolic hormones involved in building muscle tissue are testosterone, growth hormone, insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) as well as insulin and thyroid hormones. (6) Testosterone is the primary androgen hormone that interacts with skeletal muscle tissue and will be our topic for this post. We’ll discuss testosterone’s role in the body, the effect of aging on testosterone levels and finally how you can increase your testosterone naturally! Let’s get started.
Testosterone, Key Role Player
Testosterone is produced in the testes. It plays a vital role in sperm production and is responsible for many of the secondary sex characteristics such as a man’s deep voice and hair on their chest. In addition, testosterone contributes to a healthy libido, building muscle mass and maintaining energy levels.
Aging and Your Testosterone
Testosterone production starts to increase during puberty and after about age 30, most men experience a gradual decline in testosterone which continues throughout life. A drop in testosterone can contribute to losing his sex drive, feeling depressed, loss of muscle mass and having difficulty concentrating. Over time, bones can become thinner and more vulnerable to fracture.
Although age is the biggest factor for testosterone to taper off, there are other reasons as well. They include:
1. Injury to the testicles
2. Chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer
3. Chronic diseases, such as AIDS, kidney disease, alcoholism, and cirrhosis of the liver
Testosterone can be checked with a simple blood test to determine adequate levels. A low test result should trigger a check of your prostate health and your red blood cell production. Reduced testosterone production, a condition known as hypogonadism, doesn’t always require treatment. Serious medical issues sometimes coincide with decreased testosterone production, and they should be diagnosed and treated if necessary.
Although a decrease in testosterone is normal, there are ways to increase testosterone artificially as well as naturally. Artificial testosterone can be administered orally, through the skin in gel patches or injected. The treatment does carry side effects and it is important to talk to your doctor to make sure this is the right course of action for you.
Increasing Testosterone Naturally
Now, let’s take a look at some of the natural ways to increase testosterone which include exercise and a healthy diet. Incorporating the habit of exercise into your lifestyle has many benefits. There are 4 factors that matter when it comes to testosterone levels and exercise.
- Your weight– obesity is a big problem when it comes to low testosterone. Fat tissue converts testosterone into estrogen, the female hormone. Exercise and diet can help you lose weight and maintain an ideal body weight to help you increase your hormone levels.
- Age– The older you get, the less testosterone boost you may get from exercise, but exercise can help with bone and muscle health and better balance- issues that are affected by low testosterone in the first place.
- When you exercise– Testosterone levels vary throughout the day and are typically higher in the morning than they are in the evening. Scheduling your workouts in the late afternoons or evenings can help boost your levels even more.
- Fitness level– Starting or increasing your exercise program can help boost testosterone levels. Research has shown that men with 2+ years of resistance training experience result in higher levels of testosterone. (6)
Which Exercises Are Best?
Ideally, resistance training maximizes testosterone concentrations in the body. Guidelines for resistance training are (6):
- Exercises that use large muscle groups such as squats, deadlifts and power cleans.
- Heavy intensity about 85-95% of your 1-rep maximum.
- Moderate to high volume of exercise achieved through multiple sets, exercises or both.
Make sure to keep your workouts balanced with cardio and flexibility training as well. All exercise counts! Exercise will also help improve your mood and stamina and can help with sleep, all symptoms of low testosterone.
Remember, don’t overdo it. Overtraining can do harm to your body resulting in a drop in testosterone levels.
Make sure to get rest. Sleep should become a priority, aiming for 7-8 hours per night.
As always consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Addressing the big picture is key. You have to make several changes to maintain a healthy lifestyle but once this lifestyle becomes habit, you will see the positive changes to your body and mind.
If you have any questions on how to get started or to change your lifestyle for the better, contact us.
- “What is Testosterone?”. Accessed 21, June 2015. Healthline. http://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-testosterone#1
- “High and Low Testosterone in Men”.Accessed 21, June 2015. Medicine.net. http://www.medicinenet.com/high_and_low_testosterone_levels_in_men/views.htm
- “Does Working Out Affect Testosterone Levels?”. Accessed 22, June 2015. WebMd. http://www.webmd.com/men/features/exercise-and-testosterone
- “How Exercise can Help Low Testosterone”. Accessed 22, June 2015. Everyday Health. http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/low-testosterone/how-exercise-can-help-low-testosterone.aspx
- Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Baechle, T.R. & Earle, R.W. (2008). Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Human Kinetics: Champaign, p. 52-55.