Some might say that testosterone is what makes a man a man, biologically speaking. Found in the testicles (and in small amounts in the ovaries of women), this primarily male hormone conducts the development of male sexual characteristics (i.e. – facial hair, deepening of the voice) and maintains sex drive, sperm production, muscle mass and bone mass.
As men age, testosterone levels naturally decline and some men may suffer from hypogonadism – or below-normal testosterone levels – which can be associated with obesity, diabetes and other severe medical conditions.
Studies have shown that excess body weight, especially for men with central obesity (excess weight in the abdomen), may contribute to low testosterone levels. Other findings have even further linked BMI increases with a proportionate reduction in hormone levels.
While weight loss seems like a no-brainer solution, it’s important to recognize that improper dieting and rapid weight loss can actually lower testosterone levels. Instead, it’s most beneficial to do moderate exercise and resistance-based training. Multi-joint workouts – squats, hang cleaning, etc. – help release more testosterone than isolated movements, and higher weights along with short rest times are also advantageous.
Ironically, men with already low levels of testosterone will have a harder time exercising, so building endurance and avoiding cycles of inactivity may be the key to possibly boosting hormone levels.
So, although it’s natural for testosterone levels to decrease with age, a healthy body weight and appropriate exercise may go a long way – because after all, there’s no getting younger.