Exercise can increase your testosterone levels, especially if you keep with it regularly. Whether that increase is enough to combat the symptoms of low T really depends on you and your levels. Your weight, fitness level, age, and when you work out also all play a role as to how much your testosterone levels rise during exercise.
Read on to learn a little more about the nuances of testosterone levels and exercise.
The direct effects of exercise
Your testosterone levels rise after exercise, especially intense, heavy strength training. This increase in level may last just 15 minutes or up to an hour. Men often experience a greater and longer rise in testosterone when they strength train in the evening, as opposed to the morning. New exercisers get a bigger boost, too, but over time their hormone levels adapt.
Research has yet to show the absolute effects of this increase, but it’s likely not enough to make a change in the way you feel if you suffer from low T. If you have borderline low levels, however, a regular exercise habit may be enough to push you back into the normal range.
Of course, exercise has numerous other benefits, including improved heart health, enhanced muscle mass, weight management, and protection from chronic disease.
Exercise combats obesity
Obesity is a major reason men suffer from low T. Regular exercise can help you lose weight, and thus improve your testosterone levels.
Both endurance training, or cardio, and strength training may boost your testosterone. Cardio helps you burn fat, while strength training supports the development of lean muscle mass which boosts your metabolism. Of the two types of exercise, strength training has the bigger effect on testosterone levels.
Get enough exercise to increase testosterone levels
For exercise to really boost your testosterone levels, take the following steps:
- Use compound movements, such as squats, rows, and chest presses. These use multiple muscle groups and stimulate testosterone release more than isolation movements.
- Lift heavy weights that fatigue you in less than 12 reps and perform at least three sets. If you go even heavier and can only muster six to eight reps each set, the better.
- Take rest days, and leave at least 48 hours between working the same muscle groups.
Complement your efforts at the gym with positive food choices. Opt for lean proteins -- such as poultry and fish -- whole grains, fresh produce, and healthy fats found in avocados, olive oil, and nuts. These dietary changes fuel your workouts. Plus, when you avoid added sugar, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats, you support a healthier body weight.
Don’t go overboard
Seek a balance with exercise though. Exercise is stress on the body, and too much of it can have negative effects on your testosterone levels. Some endurance athletes, such as distance runners, experience lower testosterone levels and higher cortisol levels -- and cortisol is a stress hormone.
If you feel constantly sore, can’t recover from workouts, or see decreases in your sports performance, you may be overtraining. You may experience the accompanying symptoms of sleep disruption, low libido, depressed mood, or a decrease in muscle mass -- all of which suggest low T.
If you notice any of these symptoms, the staff at Men’s T Clinic® can help. Call one of our offices in Dallas or Houston, or use the online booking tool to schedule your appointment.