If you’re looking for advice on the best exercise for a hormonal imbalance, there’s a lot of information available to sift through. Trying to make sense of all the health-related information available can be really confusing and frustrating.
So, let’s consider some background information before we offer suggestions on specific exercises that can balance your hormones.
The Best Exercise for Hormonal Imbalance — Hormone Basics
Hormones are the chemical messengers circulating through your body. They can drastically affect how you look and feel, depending on what information their messages contain.
This biochemical communication network has many active members with names that may sound familiar to you — adrenaline, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, cortisol, and a host of others.
These hormones are produced in various glands and organs throughout the body, such as your pituitary gland, thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas, and ovaries (or testicles in men).
What Is a Hormonal Imbalance and What Causes It?
This balanced network of hormones — also called your endocrine system — works together to control many aspects of your physical and emotional health. Problems can result when one or more of these hormones is produced in the wrong amount, resulting in an imbalance.
The following are some symptoms which may indicate you are suffering from a hormone imbalance:
- Mood changes
- Low libido
- Depression and anxiety
- Ovarian cysts
- Irregular periods
- Changes in appetite
- Digestive issues
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Hair loss and hair thinning
If the imbalance and related symptoms are minor, there may be positive lifestyle changes you can make to improve the condition, and a good place to start is where your busy life hurts you the most — diet, exercise, and stress management.
Exercise to Balance Hormones
It would be great if we could answer the question, “What’s the best exercise for hormonal imbalance?” with a definitive answer like, “Running.”
A very specific response would make things simple and clear up a lot.
Or, would it?
The truth is, there’s no one “best” exercise for a hormonal imbalance.
If you hate running, you’re stuck with the unfortunate options of doing something you dislike or dealing with symptoms that drive you crazy.
(Actually, running really isn’t the best exercise for hormonal imbalance, especially when it comes to low testosterone in men.)
Instead, we’d like to offer a few broader suggestions about exercise that you can incorporate into the workout style of your choice.
The Best Exercise for Hormonal Imbalance — Keep It Short and Give It Your All
There’s no “best exercise” for a hormonal imbalance — intensity is what matters. Working out intensely sends signals to your body that force it to make changes, to adjust to these new demands.
The Best Exercise for Hormonal Imbalance #1 — Intervals
Intervals are short bursts of intense activity that push you to your limit followed by very brief rest periods, then repeated.
In popular exercise jargon, this is sometimes called HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and has been shown to increase testosterone and HGH (human growth hormone), which women’s bodies rely on for increases in lean muscle and bone density
The Best Exercise for Hormonal Imbalance #2 — Circuit Training
The term circuit training refers to a series of exercises performed one after another. When all the planned activities are completed, you take a short rest and start all over again at the first drill.
Circuit training is similar to interval training, but the focus here is usually on working out several different muscle groups, which helps prevent over-exhaustion or injury, as well as providing an overall workout.
The Best Exercise for Hormonal Imbalance #3 — Heavier weights
By lifting lower repetitions of heavier weight, you demand that your body produce more muscle to raise its maximum performance.
Through greater weight and lower repetition, you experience a different form of intensity, but it’s the near-limit exertion that matters — a heavy lift, in general, is probably the best exercise (for a hormonal imbalance) that you can do.
The Key Is Intensity of Effort
Heavier demands on your body — pushing it near overload — require it to change. Those requirements are transmitted by — you guessed it — hormones!
When hormones settle into a new and better balance, a host of the negative symptoms in the list you read above may improve.
Not to mention the fact that, with more muscle and less fat, you’re likely to be happier about the way you look and feel.
Just be sure you aren’t pushing too fast too soon.
The Best Exercise for Hormonal Imbalance — Wind it Down
Not all hormones produced by exercise are beneficial.
Cortisol, the hormone produced by exercise and in response to stress, breaks down both muscle and fat.
In order to avoid excess cortisol production and a hormone imbalance of a different sort, you’ll want to consider the following suggestions:
- Don’t overdo it
- Try breathing exercises
- Incorporate yoga
- Refuel your body following workouts
- Get plenty of sleep
Be sure to keep in mind that the hormone-feeling relationship can work both ways.
While your hormone balance affects your feelings and stress level, altering your stress level inversely affects your hormones — the whole idea should be to find a better cycle of balance for your body.
The Best Exercise for Hormonal Imbalance — What It All Means
If your symptoms are minor, the best advice we can give in the area of self-care is that good overall health offers you the best chance for improvement of any naturally occurring hormone imbalance.
Your first steps to feeling better could be taking some positive action related to diet and exercise and see if you are able to get some relief from the unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms of high stress and less-than-optimal health.
But, if better diet and exercise are not working, or if your symptoms are more severe, you should be examined by a medical professional.
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