What can your lifestyle tell you about your hormone levels? More than you probably thought possible. As science continues to progress and our knowledge of human physiology advances, it becomes increasingly apparent that our daily habits and choices directly affect the influence of our body’s most potent chemical controllers – our hormones. By educating yourself on this important element of your physiology, you can take the necessary steps to ensure you know how to balance hormones through exercise.
Hormones released by the brain function as powerful chemical messages, modulating and tweaking a variety of processes including metabolism, sexual health and emotional conditions. Unfortunately, the grueling work schedules many of us find ourselves immersed within can be detrimental to our body on many levels, thanks in large part to increased levels of stress as well as poor dietary habits. Cortisol and norepinephrine are two common stress-related hormones released during periods of heightened tension. Cortisol directly affects metabolic rates, slowing down our body’s digestive and reproductive processes in order to divert energy from long term storage to muscles, significantly increasing heart rate and blood pressure in the process. Norepinephrine has commonly been linked to negative psychological factors such as anxiety and depression.
Fortunately, these adverse hormonal repercussions can be reduced through proper diet and a regular fitness schedule. In addition to the commonly observed benefits of exercise, such as increased muscle strength and aerobic conditioning, routine exercise can help to balance the body’s hormone levels. So how exactly does this happen? During periods of sustained physical activity, the body increases the production of certain hormones, including the following:
Often associated with muscle growth, testosterone is found in both men and woman, although it is far more often associated with the male gender. One of the many advantages of testosterone production lies in the hormone’s ability to repair damaged muscle tissue after physical exercise. For those interested in increasing their general fitness levels while continuing to develop their body, testosterone is an absolutely essential ingredient of success. For individuals interesting in learning how to balance hormones, understanding the effects of this powerful hormone are an excellent place to start.
This hormone, produced by the body’s thyroid gland, increases the metabolic rate of cells, allowing for enhanced caloric consumption. This becomes especially useful during subsequent periods of reduced activity, as thyroxine targets and removes excess sugar and fat in the body. Be careful though! If insufficient sugar is found, thyroxine will target muscle mass for consumption. Therefore, a proper diet is necessary to ensure that thyroxine continues to eliminate unnecessary energy stores.
Secreted by the pancreas, insulin’s primary function is to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. The higher the level of insulin, the more quickly your body’s blood sugar level will decrease. If your diet has been less than ideal, regular exercise will ensure that your body has the necessary insulin to successfully reduce the detrimental effects of high blood sugar and protect against health problems, such as diabetes.
Routine exercise also helps reduce the body’s levels of bad LDL-cholesterol, which has been proven to inhibit communication between hormones and cells. Even if your body is producing standard levels of hormones, cholesterol can negatively affect their performance, significantly reducing their effectiveness.
In addition to the hormones listed above, it’s important to remember that the positive effects of regular exercise extend beyond chemical interactions. For many fitness enthusiasts, the energy and self-confidence derived from a regular exercise routine help to reduce stress and the negative physical consequences associated with it. For men, reduced fat in the abdominal area has also been proven to increase circulation to the groin region of the body, helping to improve reproductive health and performance, two common side effects associated with sustained stress.
Even if you only have time for a quick walk around the block, your body will thank you! Exercise is a powerful tool for improving your overall physical health.
In A Nutshell: If you’re interested in finding a hassle-free solution that will ensure you know how to balance hormones, a routine exercise program can work miracles. Thanks to a number of helpful hormones released during physical activity, fitness enthusiasts can benefit from reduced cholesterol, increased metabolic rates and reduced blood sugar. Exercise has also been found to improve circulation, increase heart health and promote positive self-image, all of which can help reduce the effects of workplace stress.