You can raise or lower your testosterone levels with these types of workouts.
Regular workouts are good for your heart, mental health and other aspects of your body. Do you know how hitting the gym affects your testosterone levels?
Depending on the exercise, testosterone can rise or fall. The influence on your testosterone levels also relies on how intensely you’re working out and for how long, according to Anthony Hackney, PhD, DSc, a professor of exercise physiology and nutrition at the University of North Carolina .
Testosterone, the main male sex hormone released by the testicles, is anabolic and does help you gain muscle. However, other hormones also contribute to muscle growth and endurance.
Hackney points out that testosterone is not the only way the body creates anabolic responses. In addition to bone strength, hair growth, sperm production and libido, testosterone plays an important role in other bodily functions.
Moreover, your T levels fluctuate throughout the day, says Jamin Brahmbhatt, MD, an Orlando Health urologist .
There are two peaks: one in the morning and one in the afternoon, he says. For about an hour after working out, your levels might rise, but then they go back to normal.
As obesity leads to low testosterone and other health problems, doctors recommend regular exercise for overall health and weight management.
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Does exercise impact testosterone levels?
Exercise affects testosterone levels, but research suggests that the effect depends on several factors .
There are certain types of exercise and certain volumes of intensity that can increase testosterone, but there are also specific types of exercise and particular volumes of intensity that can lower testosterone.
Studies have examined the effects of cardio, cycling, running, swimming and weightlifting on T levels. Ahmed El-Zawahry, MD, a urologist at the University of Toledo Medical Center, explains that different outcomes have been observed .
According to him, exercise does not greatly affect testosterone levels in these studies. However, some exercises, particularly weightlifting, can temporarily increase testosterone levels. Nevertheless, Dr El-Zawahry says the surge is short-lived.
The impact of exercise on testosterone levels is also influenced by the composition of your body and your level of fitness.
It was found in a small study in 2016 that obesity and overweight men saw a significant increase in their T levels when they increased their physical activity .
In a 2018 study, it was suggested that some elite male athletes had low testosterone levels. The athletes studied are usually in good physical shape, with a lean body and no indications of low testosterone (which doctors say is often more important than the actual levels) .
Dr El-Zawahry says people who have higher body fat percentages and higher body weights are more likely to have low testosterone and display symptoms.
Keeping your endurance, lean muscle, and low body fat will help you stay healthy, he says By reducing metabolic syndrome risks and associated health issues, testosterone will remain at a healthy level.
What type of exercise has the most influential impact on testosterone?
Exercises such as strength training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can increase testosterone levels, according to research. Endurance-based exercises, like cardio, can reduce testosterone [7, 8, 9].
According to Hackney, resistance training with a higher intensity and volume is more likely to elevate testosterone. Lifting heavy weights over 45 minutes will have a significant result, for example.
It’s unlikely that they’ll see any substantial change in testosterone if they’re a casual resistance trainer, according to him.
According to the 2016 study mentioned above, the biggest testosterone response was seen when resistance training began with large muscle groups, such as chest and glutes, then progressed to small muscle groups, such as triceps and shoulders. You won’t experience a sustained increase in T levels from exercise.
The effect of mixing endurance and resistance training on testosterone is likely to be a “zero-sum game,” according to Hackney.
It is not necessary to focus so much on resistance training to raise your testosterone levels. A healthy body weight and T level can be achieved with any type of exercise, according to Dr El-Zawahry.
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After working out, how long does the T boost last?
The boost in testosterone you see after working out is usually temporary, maybe an hour or two. After that, your T levels will return to normal.
You may feel a good boost of energy with exercise due to a surge in cortisol levels rather than testosterone, explains Dr El-Zawahry.
During the day, your testosterone levels naturally fluctuate. It is likely that exercising helps you maintain a healthy weight and improve your cardiovascular health, which in turn affects your testosterone levels .
In Dr El-Zawahry’s opinion, working out alone won’t increase testosterone levels long-term. The good news is that you can maintain a healthy weight and maintain testosterone levels by reducing body fat.