Everyone knows that in order to get healthy and fit you need to be active and workout. There is no mystery there. It’s also clear that a healthy balanced eating plan will do wonders for your overall fitness, but did you know there are also other factors at play? Your body’s hormones actually have a pretty big role in things as well, which is why you want to be sure you’ve got a good amount of all the ‘right’ ones.
But how exactly do hormones affect your athletic performance and overall fitness? What exactly do they do for your body? Here are the basics of hormones and your athletic performance.
Growth Hormone - Bone Health and Ideal Body Composition
One of the most important ways that hormones affect your athletic performance is the role they play in your bone health and composition. The hormone responsible for this is GH or growth hormone. If you are lacking in GH, you may notice such things as a lack of energy and a decreased level of stamina. You may also see a decrease in your strength or muscle mass, an increase in body fat, and other indicators.
The good news is that for most healthy adults, you can actually stimulate your body to increase its GH production by exercising and getting enough sleep. During each of these activities your GH is released, so if you get enough of each, then naturally the production cycle ramps up and hits the optimal levels. Also, this therapy can offer significant benefits in increasing GH production if you’re finding you still aren’t getting enough results.
Testosterone - Nature's Natural Enhancer
The hormone testosterone is often seen as nature’s natural enhancer, both in women and even more in men. In professional sports, it is seen as a “performance enhancer” for women that take it, but for men, they already produce large quantities, so it helps to give them an advantage. Unfair, perhaps, but it truly plays a big role in a person’s overall fitness.
So, how does testosterone help? Well, it can help build endurance, energy levels, stamina, strength, and aerobic capacity (which refers to how well your body is able to get oxygen to the muscles). It also helps a person build lean muscle mass and overall athletic ability. Many scientists believe that it is the increase in testosterone in male athletics that gives them a competitive edge over women.
Estrogen - Helping with Cardiovascular and Bone Health
Then there is the female hormone estrogen which is produced in the ovaries. This particular hormone aids in cardiovascular and bone health in women. What’s interesting to note is that when women enter into menopause, it can actually affect their bone health in a negative way, as there is no longer that estrogen to protect the bones.
Cortisol – Yes, the Stress Hormone
Then there is cortisol, which many people know as the stress hormone. Sometimes the link between this one and overall fitness isn’t immediately clear, but it’s there. This is a hormone that your body releases when you are feeling stressed, and it gives that instant boost of energy.
When a person wakes up in the morning, this is when their cortisol levels are the highest. From there it drops throughout the day, with little bursts here and there. It also plays a role in your weight, as those who have really high levels can suffer from high blood pressure, weight gain, muscle weakness, and more. On the flip side, you can have low blood pressure, weight loss, and fatigue. In other words, you need to get that level just right.
Each Plays its Own Role in Balancing the Body
As you can see, each of these hormones plays its own important role in balancing the body’s health and overall fitness.