Are you curious to know whether running increases testosterone? Before delving deep into this topic, first, let’s try to understand what testosterone is.
What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a sex hormone. In the case of males, it is a major sex hormone and plays a vital role in the development of male growth and masculine characteristics. Testosterone also contributes to various aspects such as muscle size and strength, bone growth and strength, sex drive, and sperm production.\
How Testosterone Is Related To Running?
Do you know that two important factors link testosterone to running? Let’s quickly find out those factors.
1. Low testosterone levels can cause stress fractures in runners
In the case of males, testosterone plays an important role in retaining bone mass. Especially, in the case of runners, bone mass is critical to avoid injury. Sports such as high-volume running, including training for a fast marathon or an ultramarathon, can end up in stress fractures.
There are higher chances of stress fractures to occur if one’s bone mass is low. It is to be noted that low bone mass is nothing but a symptom of low testosterone.
2. Testosterone boosts running performance
You might have come across the news of endurance athletes being caught in dope tests for using testosterone-boosting drugs. The reason is that testosterone helps increase the red blood cell count in the human body.
To explain, a decisive factor in the case of endurance performance is a higher red blood cell count. if your red blood cell count is high, your heart will be able to pump more oxygen to muscles.
As you know, this is quite important when it comes to running performance. Thus testosterone-boosting drugs give athletes a huge competitive advantage and they resort to such practices.
Does Running Increase Testosterone?
Now back to the original question. Does running increase testosterone? According to experts, though running has an impact on testosterone, it depends on the intensity at which one runs. Studies show that high-intensity running such as sprinting boosts testosterone.
It works in such a way that when you exercise, your body responds by releasing a variety of hormones. These hormones break down energy stores such as adrenaline and cortisol thus aiding in building and repairing muscles and bones like testosterone.
Running For Longer Time Periods Can Lower Testosterone Levels
Keep in mind that running for longer time periods can lead to a reduction in testosterone levels. It is due to the effect of cortisol, a stress hormone. To explain, cortisol has an inverse relationship with testosterone.
An increase in the production of cortisol leads to a dip in testosterone and vice versa. Thus, when you do prolonged exercise, it results in an increase in cortisol and a decrease in testosterone.
It is to be noted that the decrease in testosterone caused due to excessive running does not lead to any major health issues. However, overtraining can result in quality of life issues including stress fractures and fatigue.
Tips To Boost Testosterone While Running
Repeat shot bursts of intensive running with a duration of 90 seconds per session. A brief period of recovery in between each session contributes to a major increase in testosterone levels.
- Striding is equally important
After an intense interval of running, make sure that you stride. In addition to preventing your body from straining, it also enhances the testosterone response. The other benefit includes running faster at a higher intensity aiding you with your HIIT training.
- Combine with resistance training
Resistance workouts such as lifting weights or working out using resistance bands are great for those fighting with low testosterone issues. Thus add weight training to your steady pace running so that it will help boost testosterone production.
- Follow the right diet
Food habits also have an impact on hormones. Doing HIIT or strength exercises can be exhaustive. Thus, it is important to maintain calories by following the right diet so that it reduces fatigue, helps in faster recovery, and helps maintain proper energy levels all the time. Thus, try to have food rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals so that you will benefit from increased testosterone production.
High-intensity running like sprinting can boost testosterone, while prolonged endurance running may decrease it due to elevated cortisol levels. To enhance testosterone while running, consider High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), striding, resistance training, and a balanced diet with nutrient-rich foods to reduce fatigue.