When we think about hormones, we usually think of a woman unleashing the fury on everyone on her PMS. Periods can be pretty frustrating for us women. A pimple on the chin, the irritability, the feeling that you are always tired – hormonal imbalance can be maddening at that time of the month.
But do you know that hormonal imbalance does not only happen to women and is not exclusive on progesterone and estrogen?
Hormones are produced by a team of glands in the body called the endocrine system. These organs include the thyroid, ovaries, testicles, pituitary, pancreas, and adrenals. These glands secrete hormones to the blood stream for the arteries to transport it to the rest of your body. They are the chemical messengers of the body that play a huge part in a person’s overall health.
If you are always tired, having unexplained weight gain/loss, or you and your partner are having difficulty conceiving, chances are you could be suffering from hormonal imbalance. Other symptoms include depression and anxiety, changes in appetite, digestive issues, sleep disruption, and low libido.
The good news is, if you are not fond of chemical treatments, you can balance your hormones through exercise. Here are exercises you can do to get the blood flowing:
Circuit training gets your heart pumped by providing different exercises in a single set with little rest. According to Trophy Fitness Club personal training, The goal of this is to keep your heart rate high throughout the workout that has 8-10 stations requiring 10-25 reps each. This is proven to improve insulin response, stimulate growth hormone, and boost testosterone in men.
Yoga is proven to lower blood cortisol levels, reduce adrenalin, and stimulate GABA, the “downer” neurotransmitter, that is why you feel calm after sessions. Yoga improves the mood and lessens anxiety by shifting you from the sympathetic “fight or flight” to the parasympathetic nervous system or “rest and digest.” So if you are experiencing mood swings and extreme anxiety, or you just want to get rid of the ab fat, you ought to give this a try. Sign up for a yoga session or buy a DVD and do it at home one to two times a week.
Body-strength workout with cardio
If you want to burn more overall fat, you should try lifting weights before cycling. A body-strength workout followed by a cardio exercise burns 10 percent more fat compared to simply going straight to the latter, a study from the University of Tokyo found. This process also produces more growth hormone. If your schedule does not permit having both at the same time, you can always do them separately but keep in mind to go for the strength training first.
If it is your first time to lift heavy weights, make sure to do it with a professional trainer around to prevent any injuries. Fewer repetitions with heavier weights produce more growth hormones than doing higher reps with moderate weights. In a similar study from the University of Connecticut, women who underwent high-intensity strength training with aerobic exercise had more growth hormones in six months compared to those who did a lighter version.
To get the maximum benefits for your hormones, you should accompany your high-intensity workouts with protein- and carbohydrate-rich foods an hour before and 45 minutes after your session. Challenge yourself to avoid fat and energy drinks as well. This way, you will get a raw energy that will not only improve hormone levels but also encourage muscle gains.
If you are unsure of the proper way to do these workouts, but you want to work on your hormones, you can always refer to a personal trainer. They could help you identify which is the most efficient way to tackle specific hormone problems and they will guide you throughout the whole process.