Hormones can often be only associated with teenagers going through puberty, or women and their menstrual cycle. They can impact on everything from your bone health, to sleep, moods, metabolism and more.
What most of us don’t realise is that we in fact have many different types of hormones, more or less controlling every single chemical function of the body. There are a few main ones most people are probably are aware of, but may not understand particularly well.
Growth Hormone – reasonablyself-explanatoryy this one helps with building muscles and burning fat. Its also very important to help repair and rebuild muscle, keeping the body strong and functioning as we age.
Testosterone – this one everyone should be quite familiar with. Like the growth hormone Testosterone can help to build and repair muscle in addition to fat burning. While commonly associated with men, women also have testosterone present in their bodies.
Estrogen – Again one most people should be very familiar with, estrogen is commonly known as a female hormone, however like Testosterone it is present in both males and females (at a much lower level). While commonly estrogen is associated with female reproductive organs, it can also act as a fat storer in both males and females. In women estrogen also helps to regulate various metabolic levels including bone growth and cholesterol.
Insulin – most commonly associated with diabetes, and secreted by the pancreas, insulin is hugely important in the regulation of blood sugar (glucose) into cells for energy. As much of this energy comes from carbohydrates insulin in excess within the body can also become a fat storer or builder.
Cortisol – this little hormone is the one behind the good old ‘fight or flight’ syndrome. Stress can trigger a release of cortisol into the body, which can increase your body’s metabolism of glucose. During a work out this is what will help keep you going, and control your bloody pressure. In times of high stress in life this can on the other hand have negative effects on your body. Given Cortisol can eat away at your muscles if you are highly stressed all the time and have no muscle mass the effects can obviously be disastrous!
So how can weight training directly help regulate your hormones?
Although the above is only a brief overview of a selection of major hormones, if you understand how they work in your body, the way the effect your overall health can become clearer and clearer. You should by now be aware that weight training is a vital part of your overall fitness regime. The basis for why it is invaluable for your hormone health can be quite simple:
Muscle mass controls testosterone which can balance out estreogen levels, in turn making you level headed. Something that is very important in a world where we rarely switch off.
Once your muscles are recovering from a weights session, cortisol can release serotonin into the body. We all know serotonin, it doesn’t need much of an introduction. It’s that feel good chemical that leaves you feeling on top of the world.
Insulin is responsible for muscle growth and storage of muscle glucose, which in turn regulates the overall blood sugar levels of the body. Without muscle mass we can burn through glucose too quickly. The body will start to use muscle tissue for energy if starved of glucose for too long.
The growth hormone is pretty self explanatory. Its sort of a use it or lose it type of theory, and as you get older we cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain a strong and healthy body!