Keeping Fit: Tips to maintain a healthy testosterone level – Daily Citizen

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Updated: January 19, 2023 @ 12:32 pm
Weightlifting can help increase testosterone levels.
Jeremy Walraven

Weightlifting can help increase testosterone levels.
A growing problem for many men is a condition referred to as “low T.”
“Low T,” also known as male hypogonadism, develops as the body’s main androgenic hormone, testosterone, declines. Testosterone is responsible for common male traits such as facial hair, deep voice, muscle mass, strength and bone health. Unfortunately, recent research has suggested that the testosterone levels in many American men has been steadily dropping. Luckily, several of the contributing factors of this issue are in your control. Today, let’s explore how to keep your testosterone at a healthy level.
Jeremy Walraven
According to Harvard Health, as men age testosterone levels decrease at a gradual 1-2% each year, unlike the relatively rapid drop in estrogen that is common in menopause. The American Urology Association considers low blood testosterone to be less than 300 ng/dl for adults, and it is estimated that more than a third of men over age 45 may have less than what is considered normal. The symptoms can be subtle, or serious enough to seek help or treatment, and include: reduced body and facial hair, loss of muscle mass, low libido, irritability, depression, hot flashes, brittle bones and an increased risk of fracture.
Interestingly, one of the greatest controllable influences in developing “low T” is obesity. Through a process known as “aromatization” testosterone is converted into a form of the predominant female hormone estrogen — called estradiol. This process takes place in the fat cells throughout the body, therefore the more fat cells one has the greater the negative effect.
Urologist Dr. Peter Bajic, with the Cleveland Clinics Center for Men’s Health, states obesity also increases the likelihood of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Someone dealing with obstructive sleep apnea has repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep and therefore gets less deep, REM sleep. This is problematic, in that, during REM is the time testosterone production is at the highest level.
Certain medications such as opioid pain relievers (hydrocodone and oxycodone, for example) have been linked with negative effects on testosterone levels. Corticosteroids and immunosuppressant drugs used to treat transplant recipients are also commonly associated with “low T.” Taking these medications may be out of your control, but limiting alcohol and marijuana consumption is a viable option to keep your testosterone levels elevated. It is commonly suggested to keep your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks per day.
The right kinds of exercise and diet have also been found to be beneficial for testosterone levels. Dr. Richard Jadick with Georgia’s Piedmont Healthcare system says: “Research has shown that lifting heavier weights is the best form of exercise to boost testosterone. As muscle mass increases, it will trigger the body to produce more testosterone.” High intensity interval training (HIIT) can be very effective as well. A few studies suggest resting for one to two minutes between intervals has the most benefits. “I recommend lifting weights for 30 to 45 minutes two to three times per week,” says Dr. Jadick. “On your off days, do cardiovascular exercise or HIIT.”
It is also important that your diet is supportive of your testosterone levels and overall hormonal health. Although obesity is bad for testosterone, too much dieting, especially low-fat eating can decrease testosterone levels. Having some healthy fats in the diet like omega 3 rich fish and extra virgin olive oil can be helpful. Protein-rich foods are also good, as well as aiding in satiety which helps with fat loss. Zinc-containing foods like oysters and red meat are helpful, as well as magnesium rich foods, like greens, beans, whole grains, seeds and nuts.
Many researchers believe testosterone to be a man’s “fountain of youth.” With normal testosterone levels you may hopefully look good physically and feel even better mentally. So, strive to keep your weight down, eat a well-balanced healthy diet, lift weights and include some vigorous cardio regularly. And be sure to monitor the medications you take if possible and limit your marijuana and alcohol use. Taking these steps may help you to feel as good at age 75 as you did at 35!
Jeremy Walraven is a fitness consultant at Bradley Wellness Center.

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