Cardio workout is a widely recognized training form known for its convenience and equipment-free nature in most situations. While it has numerous health benefits like promoting better cardiovascular functioning, and weight loss benefits, among others, what piques my interest more is whether cardio helps boost testosterone production.
We all know that regular physical exercise along with a healthy diet is a great way to improve testosterone levels in men. However, the most discussed form of workout for this is resistance or weight training, although, not everyone finds this quite suitable because you are required to have access to various gym equipment, weights, etc.
All that said, let’s explore the competence of cardio in increasing testosterone levels, whether it actually benefits, how it helps, the factors that determine the effectiveness of cardio, and more.
What Is Cardio
Before delving into the various research studies that show a correlation between cardio and testosterone, let’s first understand what cardio actually is.
Oftentimes we noticed that people assume cardio and aerobics to be two different things. The fact is, both are the same. Cardio is any exercise that involves an elevation in the heart rate which then increases the oxygen flow in the blood and muscles. The most common forms of cardio include running, swimming, cycling, and, jogging or walking.
These exercises are believed to be effective when you are trying to improve your testosterone levels especially when done the right way. Let’s see how and what science says.
Does Cardio Influence Testosterone Levels- Scientific Evidence
One of the best ways to trigger testosterone production is by exercising regularly. It improves the various body processes including the ones associated with testosterone production thus boosting the hormone response.
A comparative study was conducted to show the importance of an active lifestyle in the semen and hormone parameters of men. The findings of the same suggest that semen was healthier and testosterone levels higher in active subjects when compared to those with a sedentary lifestyle.
We found another specific study from 2015 on the impact of cardio on testosterone. The research was conducted for 4 weeks wherein the subjects were exposed to moderate-intensity aerobic training three times a week. The free testosterone levels measured during this time were found to be significantly higher with a decrease in stress levels, thus balancing the testosterone-to-cortisol ratio.
A couple of years later, another clinical trial yet again established a positive relationship between cardio (aerobic exercises) and testosterone. When a group of obese men was exposed to a 12-week of regular aerobic exercise, the researchers found that there was a significant rise in the total testosterone, free testosterone, and bioavailable testosterone levels. This means that vigorous physical activity not only helps with better body functioning but also has a major positive influence on testosterone in men.
Now that you know that cardio can positively affect testosterone production in men, it is essential to understand that the impact is not the same for every individual. Let’s take a look at why.
Factors Affecting The Influence Of Cardio On Testosterone
While aerobic exercises have been found to boost testosterone as we see from many instances above, the degree of boost or how much the effect of exercise on testosterone depends on many factors. Here are what you need to take into consideration:
Age plays a critical role when it comes to testosterone production because the body’s processes slow down naturally as you age and so does testosterone output. For example, a person in the age group 25 to 30 is likely to experience a more significant improvement in testosterone production than someone who is over 40 or 50. This can happen despite they follow the same intensity of the workout and similar routine. So no matter how much you work out, you will notice a certain drop in the testosterone levels with aging, although, staying active can help delay the process.
Body weight is yet another important parameter to keep in mind. Although a common condition these days, obesity can significantly obstruct testosterone production, irrespective of age. However, regular cardio sessions and adding intensity to them can bring down the body weight, regulate blood glucose levels, and help restore and strengthen muscles. This then promotes better testosterone production.
Intensity Of Excercise
In general, training sessions involving more intensive exercises can help boost testosterone better for example in the case of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). One of the studies conducted on sedentary aging men proves that HIIT sessions on a regular basis not only improve testosterone levels but also balance the testosterone-cortisol ratio thus improving the body’s athletic (cardio) capabilities.
Another study was conducted on a group of elite athletes who were exposed to 9 HIIT sessions over 6 weeks. Researchers found that it increased free testosterone in the subjects significantly after completion of 6 weeks.
The good thing is HIIT can easily applied to your regular cardio routine to boost the results. You can run at the highest speed for about 30 to 60 seconds and then follow it up with a slow walk or recovery time for the next 60 seconds.
Duration And Time Of Exercise
The time of the day and the duration are as important as the other factors listed above. For example, testosterone is usually at its peak during the morning hours. It goes down as the day passes and is minimal in the evening. So going for a run in the evening can give a boost to testosterone levels at that time.
The duration of exercise serves as a crucial factor. This is why, short bursts of intense workouts like brief sprints followed by a resting phase and repeating the process are more effective in improving testosterone output than running consistently at the same speed for a long duration. That is why HIIT is recommended instead of endurance training if you are working on raising your testosterone levels.
One of the studies also showed that testosterone levels were low in endurance-trained cyclists and their cortisol levels were measured to be significantly high. There is proven data that high cortisol levels can inhibit testosterone release thus affecting the levels.
The pool of scientific evidence supports the fact that cardio does increase testosterone levels. However, there are a few essential points you need to keep in mind. Age and weight play a vital role in determining the amount of boost you will experience even when you train regularly.
Also, the type of exercise you choose can further support your improving efforts. Enhance your regular cardio with high-intensity training (HIIT) and you can definitely see a significant difference in your testosterone health.
Taking everything into account, though, cardio is a great way to maintain your overall health and keep yourself fit as you age.