Eight Hormones and Weight Losss
exercise provides many physical, mental, and
physiological benefits. One category of benefits
is the positive impact that exercise has on
many of your body's hormones, resulting in more
efficient metabolism, better health, and weight
are chemical messengers within your body that
affect almost all aspects of human function.
Following is a list of your eight hormones,
their function, and how regular exercise affects
Growth hormone stimulates protein synthesis
(muscle tone/development), and affects the strength
of your bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage.
During exercise, it decreases use of glucose
and increases use of fat as a fuel during exercise.
This helps to reduce body fat and to keep blood
glucose at a normal level which helps you to
exercise for a longer period of time.
of growth hormone from the pituitary gland in
the brain is increased with increasing aerobic
exercise time, especially more intense exercise
such as interval training.
An endogenous opioid from the pituitary gland,
endorphins block pain, decrease appetite, create
a feeling of euphoria (the exercise high), and
reduce tension and anxiety.
levels of endorphins increase up to five times
resting levels during longer duration (greater
than 30 minutes) aerobic exercise at moderate
to intense levels, and also during interval
after several months of regular exercise, you
develop an increased sensitivity to endorphins
(a higher high from the same level of endorphins),
and endorphins that are produced tend to stay
in your blood for a longer period of time. This
makes longer duration exercise easier (you're
feeling no pain) and it causes your exercise
high to last for a longer period of time after
An important hormone in both males and females,
testosterone maintains muscle tone/volume/strength,
increases basal metabolic rate (metabolism),
decreases body fat, and produces feelings of
confidence. It is produced by the ovaries in
females and by the testes in males.
have only about one tenth the amount of testosterone
produced by males, but even at that level it
plays a role in libido. Production of testosterone
in females begins to decline as a woman begins
to approach menopause and in males it begins
to decline in his forties.
men and women, blood levels of testosterone
increase with exercise, beginning about 20 minutes
into an exercise session. Blood levels may remain
elevated for one to three hours after exercise.
The most biologically active estrogen, 17 beta
estradiol, increases fat breakdown from body
fat stores so that it can be used and fuel,
increases basal metabolic rate (metabolism),
elevates your mood, and increases libido.
This hormone is at much higher blood levels
in females, but the ovaries begin to produce
less of it as a woman begins to approach menopause.
amount of 17 beta estradiol secreted by the
ovaries increases with exercise, and blood levels
may remain elevated for one to four hours after
A hormone produced by the thyroid gland, thyroxine
raises the metabolic rate ("metabolism")
of almost all cells in the body. This increase
in "metabolism" helps you to feel
more energetic and also causes you to expend
more calories; it is thus is important in weight
levels of thyroxine increase by about 30% during
exercise and remain elevated for several hours
afterward - this period of time is increased
by an increase in intensity and/or duration
of exercise. Regular exercise also increase
thyroxine levels at rest.
A hormone produced primarily by the adrenal
medulla, epinephrine increases the amount of
blood the heart pumps and directs blood flow
to where it's needed. It stimulates breakdown
of glycogen (stored carbohydrate) in the active
muscles and liver to use as fuel. It also stimulates
the breakdown of fat (in stored fat and in active
muscles) to use as fuel.
amount of epinephrine released from the adrenal
medulla is proportional to the intensity and
duration of exercise.
is an important hormone in regulating (decreasing)
blood levels of glucose ("blood sugar")
and in directing glucose, fatty acids, and amino
acids into the cells. Insulin secretion by the
pancreas is increased in response to a rise
in blood sugar as is often the case after a
the larger the meal, or the greater the quantity
of simple sugars consumed, the larger the insulin
response. This is why it is best to eat small
frequent meals and to limit consumption of sugar
and of processed bread, pasta and rice. The
whole grain (non- processed) versions of those
products are much healthier choices.
levels of insulin begin to decrease about 10
minutes into an aerobic exercise session and
continue to decrease through about 70 minutes
of exercise. Regular exercise also increases
a cell's sensitivity to insulin at rest, so
that less is needed.
A hormone that is also secreted by the pancreas,
the job of glucagon is to raise blood levels
of glucose ("blood sugar"). When blood
sugar levels get too low, glucagon is secreted
and causes stored carbohydrate (glycogen) in
the liver to be released into the blood stream
to raise blood sugar to a normal level. It also
causes the breakdown of fat so that it can be
used as fuel.
typically begins to be secreted beyond 30 minutes
of exercise when blood glucose levels may begin
you can see, exercise has a powerful impact
on your hormones, ultimately resulting in weight
loss, a sense of well-being, and better general
health. So next time you're exercising, think
about all the wonderful things that are happening
to your hormones. It might even make you want
to do more exercise!
An author and exercise physiologist, Greg
Landry offers free weight loss and fitness
success stories and targeted, highly affective
weight loss programs for women, men, type
2 diabetics, and people with slow metabolisms
and hypothyroidism. http://www.GregLandryFitness.com