Does Running Boost Testosterone?
Does running boost testosterone levels?
Let’s look at the facts to answer that important question.
Fact 1: Running is one of the most popular forms of exercise around, and it has myriad health benefits.
Fact 2: Strenuous exercise is known to be beneficial to those who have low testosterone, especially those hovering just beneath the normal range.
Therefore, it would seem simple logic that hard, endurance running increases testosterone. However, answering the question, “Does running boost testosterone?” isn’t quite so simple.
What Are the Health Benefits of Running?
Consistent mild to moderate exercise is one of the best ways to improve your health and wellbeing, and running can be a great way to start feeling better.
Cardiovascular exercise helps you burn fat and boost your metabolism. Other benefits include:
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Slowing your resting heart rate
- Improving blood sugar levels
- Reducing triglycerides and cholesterol
- Shrinking your waist circumference
Improving these important health aspects can reduce disease risk and help you feel healthier overall.
Obesity is a leading cause of poor hormonal balance, including low testosterone. Adipose (fat) tissue functions as an estrogen-producing organ, and the resulting estrogen-heavy balance in your system effectively drives down the levels of testosterone available for your body to use.
When it comes to testosterone, reducing your total body fat may help you bring your endocrine system back into a better balance and effectively improve your testosterone balance and relieve some of the Low T symptoms you’ve been experiencing.
However, even under these improved conditions, your body isn’t actually producing more testosterone than before.
Can Running Increase Testosterone Production?
It depends on how you run.
Running is an excellent cardiovascular workout., as we’ve mentioned. However, slow and steady workouts do not produce the necessary intensity required to trigger an increase in testosterone production.
Research suggests that short, high-intensity sprints are much more effective at increasing testosterone levels.
In one study, athletes (handball players) ran four 250 meter sprints on a treadmill at 80% of their personal maximal speed with three minutes of rest in between each sprint. Testosterone levels increased significantly, as did the testosterone to cortisol ratio.
These results indicate that the sprint exercise, a form of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) resulted in an anabolic or muscle-building state, similar to weight lifting. More muscle mass means greater testosterone production.
Does running increase testosterone levels? Yes, when it’s done in the right way. Endurance running could be counterproductive.
Running for longer time periods and distances actually can cause a reduction in testosterone levels. Endurance workouts lead to an increase in cortisol, which is a hormone your body produces in response to acute stress.
Higher levels of cortisol are believed to hinder your body’s ability to make testosterone.
Data from a study involving male endurance athletes found that a steady long run of 97 minutes on the treadmill, performed at 75% of the subjects VO2 max, caused a significant decrease in free testosterone levels.
This drop persisted for 72 hours after the exercise bout, indicating that testosterone levels may take significant periods of rest to return to baseline after an extended workout.
In short, repeatedly exercising in a way that leads to testosterone depletion without sufficient recovery could lead to a chronic state of low testosterone.
Running and Testosterone: Your Weight Matters
There is a wealth of scientific evidence negatively correlating obesity with low testosterone levels and the symptoms of low testosterone. These conditions are intertwined in a self-perpetuating cycle where each condition exacerbates the other.
Many men report that no matter how hard they exercise, how well they eat, or how careful they are, they continue to gain weight as they age, especially around the midsection, and continue to feel less and less like themselves.
They’re right that Low T might be the problem, especially if lifestyle changes like running aren’t boosting testosterone and helping you maintain your weight. It might be time to talk to a medical professional.