Hormones, Health, and Exercise in Men’s Fitness

If you are 30 or older, it’s time to start to take a closer look at what your body is doing, especially if long term health and fitness is your goal. When guys are young, things tend to be pretty simple. The natural flood of testosterone that you enjoy keeps your mood in a normal range and enables you to grow muscle pretty easily without a huge amount of effort. As you get older, testosterone starts to be produced in lesser quantities, which can start to make you look and feel differently. Here’s how some of that works. There is more complexity than we could possibly fit in one internet post, so if you want to learn more about this stuff, talk to your doctor.

Testosterone is the natural sex hormone most closely associated with manliness. Women’s bodies make it too, but not in the ample supplies that men’s do. Testosterone does a lot of stuff in the body. It helps build muscle, it prevents large weight gain, it increases sex drive and fertility, it increases body hair, and generally does all kinds of things that make men…well…manly.

But what happens when testosterone starts to be produced less? And why does this happen anyway? The reason is that testosterone is your body’s signal to reproduce. Even if you don’t know what testosterone is, you feel its effects. For millions of years, our ancestors were driven by testosterone to have sex and (as a result) have offspring. It’s evolution’s way of making sure that mammals keep on reproducing themselves.

Most of your ancestors will have had children by the time they were in their twenties or thirties. Though men can have children later in life, this is much more uncommon than having kids while you are young. From an evolutionary perspective, it is more important for a body to provide lots of testosterone when the organism is young, because this is when reproduction usually occurs. The older an organism gets, the greater its chances of dying from some accident, so it makes sense for testosterone to be frontloaded, to make reproduction happen ASAP.

As you get older, you will be leaving your period of greatest fertility, because most of your ancestors gave birth when they were young, and passed down this trait to their offspring. Not only does testosterone increase fertility and libido, a diminished supply also has secondary effects. For instance, men who have low testosterone tend to start growing breasts. This is because, without testosterone playing a dominant part, estrogen starts to assert itself.

Men can lose their breasts either by increasing testosterone through healthy living and/or therapy, or with gynecomastia surgery. Low testosterone can have lots of other negative effects, like causing older men’s bones to become more brittle. If you are over thirty, it might be time to start thinking about ways to keep your testosterone high, and to seek out treatment if you find out that it is low. It’s easy to replace testosterone these days, and with all of the important parts that this hormone plays in your body, it’s worth paying attention to.