Despite the stereotype as a male hormone, testosterone affects females as well as males. Low testosterone levels in men increase the risk of health issues and disease. If you have low testosterone levels, then exercise is the answer.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is produced in the testes of men and the ovaries of women, it is a steroid hormone which is a type of androgen. Androgens are typically a male hormone but have more than 200 actions in women.
What does testosterone do?
- Anabolic effects of muscle growth and strength. It binds to receptors on the surface of muscle cells and stimulates protein synthesis to build the muscle after trauma during resistance training. Testosterone increases levels of growth hormone which the body produces in response to exercise. Growth hormone also plays a part in protein synthesis and muscle growth.
- Studies found that the prevalence of osteoporosis in testosterone deficient males is double that of those with normal testosterone level. Testosterone reduces the osteoclastic activity, which is the breakdown of bone and increases the osteoblastic activity which is responsible for bone growth.
- Testosterone increases your red blood cell count produced in the bone marrow, this allows a greater transport of oxygen around the body reducing the demand on the heart. A study has shown testosterone replacement reduces risk of heart attack by 24% and stroke by 36%. This can be achieved naturally by performing resistance exercise to prevent low levels of testosterone.
- Testosterone can help with controlling body fat percentage.
- Testosterone is known to increase verbal memory, spatial abilities and mathematical reasoning. Men with higher levels of testosterone have shown to have a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
How does exercise impact testosterone levels?
Research is still being done into the full effects of testosterone and exercise. However, we do know that exercise will initially increase testosterone levels but not for long. One known factor is that you need to make exercise a habit in order to get all the benefits, but there are some factors which influence this.
There are four main factors which will impact the effects of testosterone on the body.
There is a direct correlation between high testosterone levels and a lower body fat percentage. Research has shown that testosterone directly inhibits the creation of fat cells.
Testosterone levels decrease with age. Short term exercise will increase levels of testosterone in the elderly. Studies have also shown that lower levels of testosterone can increase your risk of dementia.
- Fitness levels
If you have a low level of fitness you are likely to have a greater increase in testosterone response to exercise. As your body adjusts to the demands of exercise the testosterone response will decrease.
- Time of day
The level of testosterone is highest in the morning, therefore the greatest response of testosterone is in the evening when the levels are lower. Therefore, training at the end of the day will give you the biggest boost.
How does testosterone impact females?
Testosterone is commonly known as a male hormone however females produce testosterone and can get just as many benefits.
Benefits for females:
- Increase in lean mass and strength
- Bone density
- Brain function
- General sense of well being
- Energy levels
Controlling testosterone levels for females is important to maintain; the state of being active, high energy levels and overall sense of wellbeing.
Testosterone plays a major role in everyone’s health. Therefore, consistent resistance training and maintenance of testosterone levels in both males and females, will help you live longer better.
If you feel that you are testosterone deficient then please feel free to speak to our nursing team.