Tag Archives: fitness

How Exercise Affects Hormones for the Better

exercise-affects-hormones

We know exercise is good for us in a variety of ways.

It promotes strength, balance and agility, helps control weight, combats disease, aids mood, and supports energy levels, better sleep, social connections, and much more.

But did you know that exercise also affects hormones for the better? Read on to learn how.

How Exercise Affects Hormones for the Better

Exercise Lowers Stress Hormones

The first way that exercise affects hormones for the better is by lowering stress hormones.

Research shows that after physical activity, people experience lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine. This matters because long-term stress, which triggers higher levels of cortisol, can lead to a number of health issues, such as high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and higher instances of anxiety and depression.

Exercise Provides Higher LEvels of Serotonin and Dopamine

Exercise is known to boost levels of serotonin and dopamine – hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain related to neurological functioning and mood.

Dopamine is often referred to as the “feel-good” hormone. You most often experience this chemical when doing something pleasurable. Serotonin, on the other hand, acts more as a mood regulator and stabilizer.

Both dopamine and serotonin are involved in a number of biological functions. These include helping to regulate your mood and emotions, the stress response, memory, cognition, executive functioning, sleep, energy, focus, blood flow, digestion, heart and kidney function, and more.

Exercise Helps Promote Increased Testosterone and Estrogen

As men age, their testosterone levels decrease. Regular exercise can help boost those testosterone levels. That matters because testosterone affects men’s muscle mass, strength, libido, and more. Regular exercise, which boosts testosterone levels, may also slow some of the effects of aging.

For women, menopause signals the beginning of declining and imbalanced estrogen levels, leading to many of the symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, mood swings, and more. At least thirty minutes of daily exercise helps boost estrogen levels, which may provide temporary relief from occasional symptoms.

Another way to support healthy levels of hormones in your body is with supplements from Bezwecken, Douglas Laboratories, Designs for Health, and Integrative Therapeutics.

Hormonal Balance Supplements

PhytoB-L 4X – Bezwecken

PhytoB-L 4X from Bezwecken is a plant derived formula that supports hormonal balance naturally for those looking for a natural alternative to traditional hormone replacement therapy. PhytoB-L 4X Oil Blend contains 40 milligrams of Progesterone, 1.6 milligrams of Estriol, and 0.4 milligrams of Estradiol per every 10 drops.

DHEA 5 mg Dissolvable Tablets – Douglas Laboratories

DHEA 5 mg Dissolvable Tablets from Douglas Laboratories is a natural DHEA supplement for women and men looking for weight loss, anti-aging, and natural energy support. DHEA 5 mg Dissolvable Tablets contain the highest purity dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) produced under strict Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), providing vital support for adrenal hormone production.

DIM-Evail – Designs for Health

Each softgel of DIM-Evail from Designs for Health contains 100 milligrams of diindolylmethane (DIM), a compound that helps to support healthy estrogen metabolism. While it is normally difficult to absorb DIM orally, DIM-Evail has been manufactured utilizing the new Designs for Health Evail process, an all-natural process, and formulation that improves the absorption of DIM.

Indolplex – Integrative Therapeutics

Indolplex from Integrative Therapeutics is a dietary supplement that contains diindolylmethane (DIM), a dietary indole found in cruciferous vegetables that may help maintain a healthy estrogen metabolism. DIM in Indolplex is a patented, highly bioavailable form of DIM that is 10 times more potent than its precursor, indol-3 carbinol (I3C). Because of its enhanced absorption and bioavailability, Indolplex may assist a healthy estrogen metabolism and encourage healthy breast, uterine, cervical, and prostate tissues.

How do you find that exercise affects your health and wellness for the better?

How Sleep Affects Fitness Outcomes

sleep-affects-fitness-outcomes

Sleep is an essential aspect of life, no matter who you are. For athletes, though, it’s an ingredient in the recipe for success that can’t be replaced with anything else. The same is true for non-athletes who exercise regularly, especially those who consistently push themselves to new levels of achievement. In short, sleep is essential for recovery. But what, exactly, does this mean?

Sleep and Exercise Recovery

When we exercise, we put stress on our muscles, heart, tendons/ligaments, and other body systems. This stress is calculated, as it stimulates our bodies to recover stronger than they were before the stress took place. When the body experiences stress, it “anticipates” that such stress may continue in the future, and prepares itself by packing on muscle and increasing agility. However, it takes time for these changes to take effect, and sleep is the time when the greatest improvements are made. 

William and Mary athletics research indicates that it takes about one hour of sleep for an athlete to recover from 2 hours of bodily stress. Therefore, 16 hours of wakefulness and training would require a full 8 hours to build back to 100%. Obviously, in the case of extreme strenuous exercise, the body may require multiple days to fully recover, with each night of sleep playing an important role. Ideally, the athlete will be conditioned to difficult training, though, and therefore a single night of sleep will do most of the work. 

When we don’t sleep enough after difficult training, we enter the next day only partially recovered. Our bodies must then continue the difficult process of recovery while also handling the burden of daily tasks and responsibilities, possibly with the added burden of further exercise. During such exercise, strength and mobility will be limited, reducing the effectiveness of weight-lifting, running, or whatever other form of exercise you practice. In many way, exercise of this sort is “going through the motions” – dragging oneself in a state of exhaustion through a routine, without reaping the benefits that good sleep can provide. 

How to Improve Sleep Quality for Optimal Exercise Recovery

If you aren’t sleeping enough, the first step is to make time for sufficient sleep. Give yourself at least 8 hours of undisturbed time, and be willing to go to bed early enough in the evening to achieve it. It’s important to follow all of the useful practices that can contribute to good sleep, such as removing electric lights from the bedroom, “winding down” sufficiently early to drift off to sleep, and avoiding food, drink, and chemicals like caffeine even hours prior to slumber. 

Another way to improve sleep quality, though, is to simply exercise more! Exercise and sleep go hand in hand. The more tired you are, the more your body will naturally reach out for the restorative power that a night of quality rest can provide. If you are a natural insomniac, chances are that vigorous exercise during the day may be enough to help turn the tide. In fact, the exercise>sleep connection is so powerful that it’s been described as a positive “vicious cycle”, one which builds to a beneficial outcome in a rapid and surprising fashion. 

If you still have trouble sleeping, even with your fitness goals being achieved during the day, there are supplements that can help. TravaCor by NeuroScience, Sleep Time by Nutritional Frontiers, and Melatonin 3 mg by Pure Encapsulations each have a unique herbal/natural formulation that can help the body naturally relax for high quality sleep each night. Try any of them while also improving your daytime exertion practices, and you should be slumbering beneficially soon enough.

How to Stay Active During the Holidays

stay active during the holidays

Here are tips on how to stay active during the holidays.

Let’s face it, the holidays are not the best for watching your waistline or maintaining a diet. But, you don’t have to throw all caution to the wind. At the very least if you’re going to give in to all the holidays treats, you can at least stay active. Before you argue that it’s cold outside, or quarantining makes it hard to workout, we’ve got some great suggestions on how to stay active during the holidays.

Embrace the Cold

There’s nothing like cold weather to get you into the holiday spirit, so why not embrace it and find ways to stay active despite it? Here are some of our favorite cold weather activities that are perfect for the holiday weather.

  • Ice Skating
  • Ice Hockey
  • Flag Football
  • Trail Running/Walking
  • Bike Riding

Exercise When You Can

If the holidays are a super busy time for you, sometimes you just have to make the opportunities to get active. Here are some ideas we’ve come up for you that you can literally do anywhere, at any time.

  • 50 squats a day (break them up throughout the day)
  • 100 jumping jacks (try 20 at a time)
  • Climb the stairs (do extra rounds if you have the time)
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot so you have to walk a bit

Keep Your Energy Up

If you’re not keeping up with your regular exercise routine and you’re indulging in one too many treats, you can begin to feel sluggish. Keep your energy up by making sure you’re giving everything your body needs, Here’s a checklist.

Plan Ahead

If you’re going to be traveling a lot during the holiday season, plan ahead so you can stay active. If you’re staying in hotels, call ahead to see if they have a gym facility you can use. If you’re staying at a friend or relatives home, see if they have home exercise equipment you can use. If you’re really out of options, see if a gym in the area will allow you to purchase visits by the day for the time you will be in town.

You don’t have to dump all the progress you’ve made all year just because it’s the holiday season. You can stay healthy and active, and still have a good time. Try some of these “stay active” tips, and have a safe and happy holiday season.