Balancing Hormones Naturally: Best Exercise for Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances are very common, particularly in women, and can be caused by multiple factors such as stress, age, diet, sedentary lifestyle, or disease. Hormones play a key role in regulating most major bodily functions, from appetite and weight gain to mood and reproduction. Keeping your hormones in balance is a key part of maintaining your overall health. You can help regulate your hormones with simple lifestyle changes, such as reducing stress, exercising regularly and eating healthily. When you exercise for hormonal imbalance, the most important factor is consistency. Developing a lifestyle of regular exercise takes time, but the benefits to your health are well worth the commitment.
How Exercise Helps Correct Hormonal Imbalances
Two of the leading causes for hormonal imbalance are stress and high insulin levels. Our fast-paced lifestyles and sugar-heavy diets make it difficult for our bodies to keep cortisol (the stress hormone) and insulin levels in check. Exercise is a great stress reducer and helps the body keep cortisol levels in balance. It also helps stabilize blood sugar levels and increases insulin sensitivity.
Hormones that are Affected by Exercise
These are just a few of the hormones that are affected by exercise:
- Dopamine – Studies have shown that exercise increases dopamine (a.k.a. the “happy hormone”) levels in the brain, helping to decrease stress, anxiety and even depression.
- Serotonin – Exercise releases serotonin, which helps you get a good night’s sleep and can positively impact appetite, mood, digestion and memory.
- Thyroid – The thyroid produces the main metabolic hormones in the body, and thyroid problems are among the most common endocrine disorders. Exercise contributes to a healthy thyroid and allows the thyroid hormones to function properly.
- Testosterone – As men age, testosterone naturally decreases, causing a loss of muscle mass, strength and sex drive. Regular exercise can help boost testosterone, slowing the effects of aging.
- Estrogen – A decline in estrogen levels is the driving force behind menopause, and the severity of the decline is linked to the severity of menopause symptoms. Exercising and increasing your heart rate for at least half an hour every day helps boost estrogen levels and can temper menopause symptoms.
Best Exercises for Hormonal Imbalance
There are many beneficial exercises for hormonal imbalance, including aerobics, strength training and endurance exercise. While a combination of resistance and aerobic training often provides the best results, engaging in any type of exercise on a regular basis will benefit your hormone levels. Finding an exercise that you enjoy and can easily perform on a regular basis will help you stick to an exercise routine. Here are some exercises you can try:
- HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training is comprised of several exercises done in bursts, with little downtime in between. Because of the intensity of the workout, it can be done in less than half the time of a regular workout (often no more than 20 minutes) and only three times a week. This is a good option for people already in good physical condition with minimal time for exercise. HIIT workouts increase human growth hormone and improve insulin sensitivity.
- Strength training – Strength training doesn’t have to involve heavy weights and intense routines. Regular strength training (typically 2-3 times a week) with light weights and high reps is a great lower-impact way to build muscle mass and reduce cortisol.
- Walking – A brisk 30-minute walk four to five times a week can have a big impact on hormone balance. It’s also a great low-impact option for older people or those with joint problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
In addition to regular exercise, it is important to thoughtfully increase your activity level throughout the day. Prolonged inactivity can wreak havoc on the body and hormones, but moving more doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, if you work at a desk all day, make sure you get up every hour and move for at least two minutes. Other tips include walking while you talk on your cell phone, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away, or even doing squats or sit-ups while watching TV.
It is also important to note that too much exercise can cause hormonal imbalances by increasing stress hormones and causing fatigue. Rest is an important part of a regular exercise routine, so make sure you are giving your body time to recover and modifying the intensity of your workouts to match your current physical condition.
Learn More About Hormonal Health: Anchor Wellness Center
To learn more about natural hormonal health, call Anchor Wellness Center today at (832) 246-8437 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM. As a Board Certified physician in Family Medicine, as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra can help restore balance to your hormones and optimize your health.