Not only does exercise have physical and mental benefits, it also provides physiological benefits as well.
Regular exercise has the power to keep the body’s hormones in balance, resulting in a better sense of well-being.
The feeling of euphoria people often experience during and after exercise is due to its ability to stimulate endorphins, or the “feel good” hormones. This exercise high is intensified by the production of many other hormones, including testosterone, growth hormone, estrogen, and thyroid hormones, which begin to increase 20 minutes into exercise and can remain elevated for up to 3 hours after exercise.
These hormones are important for both males and females and will maintain muscle tone and strength, increase metabolism, break down body fat, produce feelings of self confidence, increase libido, elevate mood, and much more.
Unlike all other hormones that increase during exercise, insulin actually decreases.
This is a good thing because it heightens sensitivity to insulin by reducing its concentration in the blood, which increases the body’s ability to turn fat into energy.
To reap the hormonal benefits of exercise, try to perform at least two strength training workouts a week at 30-45 minutes per session, and two aerobic workouts such as cycling, swimming, or running.
Alternating between lifting heavier weights in the 6-10 rep range on some days and lighter weights in the 12-15 rep range on other days has been shown to produce greater increases in hormone levels.
For aerobic exercise, interval training has been shown to produce the greatest benefits to the hormonal system.