Good news! You may be able to raise your testosterone level naturally. Here are a few ways to minimize the decline.
“I’m starting to have a hard time keeping up with my 18-year-old son.” This concern was voiced by a 43-year-old father who enjoyed lifting weights with his son. Nobody wants to admit it, but when we reach 40, our body is changing. However, this isn’t a reason to go full midlife crisis.
It’s tough to accept that we can’t overdo it anymore. In our twenties, a different cocktail of hormones allows us to recover faster. Some of those hormones tend to decline with age, and the important hormone here is testosterone.
Testosterone is the hormone that makes the male voice deeper, increases facial hair, and helps men put muscles on their frame. And for most men, testosterone starts a gradual 1.6 percent yearly decline in their forties.
This decrease may leave men with less energy and a bigger waistline. If you feel less energetic and suspect low testosterone levels, talk to your health care practitioner.
There’s been a lot of talk about testosterone replacement therapy and whether it’s safe and effective, but you may be able to raise your testosterone level naturally. Here are a few ways to minimize the decline.
Don’t stress about it
Testosterone and cortisol have an important relationship. Studies have shown that if men are constantly under a lot of stress, their body will produce cortisol at the expense of testosterone. When men reach their forties, they tend to have more responsibilities, and their overall stress level is increased. The less stress you have, the easier it is for your body to produce testosterone.
Feed the machine
Proper nutrition is the basis of a healthy body. Poor quality, toxin-laden foods will take a toll on our system and overstress it. If you suspect your diet lacks vitamins or nutrients, talk to your health care practitioner or holistic nutritionist about how to increase your nutrient intake.
Sleep on it
Sleep disturbances can cause lower testosterone levels. Men suffering from sleep apnea have been found to have lower testosterone levels. If you rarely feel rested in the morning, talk to your health care practitioner about ways to improve your sleep habits.
Lose the beer keg
If you want to improve your testosterone level, watch your waist circumference. Obesity has been linked to low testosterone. The mechanisms aren’t fully understood, but men who are obese have a significantly higher risk of having a low testosterone level. Also, alcohol abuse may short-circuit testosterone production. So please enjoy in moderation.
You are built for exercise, and it’s good for your overall health. The bonus is that exercise may help you maintain your testosterone levels. The secret here is intensity. According to a small 2012 study, sprint intervals raised free testosterone levels more than steady-state endurance exercise, but there’s a better alternative.
You see, testosterone is a muscle-building hormone. By pushing your body, you force it to add muscle. It has been reported that testosterone is elevated immediately after a bout of heavy resistance training. If you think you’re too old for this benefit, think again. Twelve weeks of strength training has been shown to reverse the age-related decline of testosterone levels in older males. It’s never too late!
Focus on exercises that use a variety of muscles. Find a weight that will be challenging for between six and 12 repetitions. Testosterone seems to answer to metabolic demand more than just volume of exercise. A rest period of two minutes between sets seems to increase the testosterone level more than shorter rest periods. The order exercises are performed in doesn’t make a difference. But if you do a total body workout, start with the bigger muscle groups.
How many times a week is optimum for boosting testosterone? Once or twice a week should do it. Challenging a muscle more than twice a week won’t provide enough time for full recovery. Do just enough and not too much. Don’t fall in the trap of more is better. If you push yourself to the brink of overtraining, you’ll add stress to your body and defeat the purpose.
Here’s a safe way to know if you’re doing it right: track your progress. You can go old school and use a notebook or calendar or create a spreadsheet, or get into the digital age and use a workout tracking app on your smartphone.
There are a lot of health benefits to strength training. It can help you
- reduce body fat
- increase metabolic rate
- improve insulin sensitivity
- reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
So, in a nutshell, Dad can compete with Junior, just not as often. He needs more time to recover and come back stronger. He has to be smart about his exercise routine and focus on quality instead of quantity. He needs to push his body to trigger growth and optimize recovery by eating properly and getting plenty of rest.
These supplements can help boost energy. Ask your health care practitioner whether one could be helpful for you.
- green tea extract
- capsaicin (red pepper)
- Asian ginseng
- Ginkgo biloba
- B-complex vitamins
Apply the AC/DC rule
Legendary rock band AC/DC uses simple chords and plays hard. So keep your training simple and work hard. Challenge your body, give it the proper rest, and repeat. How can you tell if you’re successful? Just keep track of your progress.