Solon: Exercise and your hormones

Pio Solon

WE THINK of exercise as having such a beneficial effect on your mood and your looks. Little do we know that exercise has a much more subtle effect on the chemical processes happening in our bodies. Hormones regulate our bodies processes from hunger, sex drive, sleep and the amount of energy available to us to name a few. The benefits of exercise follow a U-shaped model. Too little and there is no benefit, too much exercise can also be harmful to our health. Here is how exercise benefits our endocrine system:

Endorphins

Endorphins are perhaps the most recognized hormone when it comes to exercise and its benefits on mood. After exercise, endorphin is released by the pituitary gland, creates a feeling of euphoria, blocks pain and decreases anxiety.

Regulates Estrogen

Estrogen is the primary female hormone and is responsible for the regulation of the female reproductive system and secondary sex characteristics. Although women need estrogen, too much of it may not be good and has been touted as a risk factor for breast cancer. Many women over the age of 35 have too much estrogen to start with. Exercise in this case reduces estrogen, thereby decreasing the risk of breast cancer.

It improves Insulin Sensitivity

Working out can increase our sensitivity to insulin which allows carbohydrate to be better processed by our bodies and thereby reducing the risk of having high sugar, or the risk of diabetes. This is especially important in our society which relies on the consumption of carbohydrates for our food.

It stimulates Irisin production

Irisin is a newly found hormone discovered in 2012. Irisin helps turn white fat into brown fat. Brown fat produces heat to help maintain body temperature in cold conditions. Brown fat is loaded with mitochondria, the engine that helps burn calories to produce heat.

I hope you learned how exercise helps your hormones. When looking to start any exercise program consult your doctor and enlist the service of a qualified and competent professional.