|Year : 2013 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 48-50
Effects of aerobic exercise intensity on serum cortisol and testosterone in trained young men
Suzan Sanavi1, Mohammad-Ali Kohanpour2
1 Clinical Fellow of Nephrology, Internist, Parsa Hospital, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Exercise Physiology, Islamic Azad University, Central Branch, Tehran, Iran
|Date of Web Publication||28-May-2013|
Clinical Fellow of Nephrology, Internist, Parsa Hospital, Tehran
This study evaluated the exercise-induced changes in circulating cortisol and testosterone levels, as anabolic and catabolic hormones, to determine various factors influencing on these hormonal levels in males. It seems that exercise intensity has a contributory role in this regard, which must be more investigated.
Keywords: Aerobic exercise, cortisol, testosterone
|How to cite this article:|
Sanavi S, Kohanpour MA. Effects of aerobic exercise intensity on serum cortisol and testosterone in trained young men. Saudi J Sports Med 2013;13:48-50
|How to cite this URL:|
Sanavi S, Kohanpour MA. Effects of aerobic exercise intensity on serum cortisol and testosterone in trained young men. Saudi J Sports Med [serial online] 2013 [cited 2020 Jun 6];13:48-50. Available from: http://www.sjosm.org/text.asp?2013/13/1/48/112232
| Introduction|| |
With respect to the important role of physical activity in maintaining health and the effects of sub-maximal aerobic training, as a popular exercise, on physical fitness, cardiovascular system, and quality of life, many investigations surrounding this issue have been performed.  Pituitary-target gland hormones have been suggested as useful indicators of exercise-induced homeostatic disorders. The ratio between serum cortisol (catabolic hormone) and free testosterone (anabolic hormone) indicates exercise work-load and homeostatic balance.  Exercise-induced homeostatic disorders may be related to exercise intensity (more than 50% of maximal oxygen consumption) and duration, which trigger the sympathetic nervous system and cortisol overproduction while inhibit testosterone secretion. , To determine the effects of different intensities of sub-maximal aerobic exercise on serum cortisol and free testosterone, we conducted a study on 17 trained (regular training at least 3 days/week during 2 years ago) healthy young men with physical characteristics including: Age = 23.33 ± 1.56 years, BMI = 21.6 ± 0.91 kg/m 2 , VO2max = 48.6 ± 3.96 ml/kg/min.
| Materials and Methods|| |
Aerobic power of the participants was measured using "Bruce test" on treadmill, 5 days before the research protocol.  Then, they met in 3 sessions of aerobic exercise consisting 30-min running on treadmill with 3 different intensities of 70%, 80%, and 90% of maximal heart rate (MHR), which were prescribed on a random basis and interfered with 48-hour resting period.  All sampling procedures were planned for each participant in the same conditions, to neutralize the effect of circadian rhythm. Serum cortisol and free testosterone were assayed as basal and immediately, and 1 hour post-exercise. Data analyzes were performed using the SPSS v. 16, and P -values < 0.05 were considered as significant.
| Results|| |
Serum cortisol levels showed significant elevation following increasing of exercise intensity at 0 h post-exercise (P = 0.025). One hour post-exercise cortisol value at the intensity of 90% of MHR was higher than the other intensities; however, it was insignificant (P = 0.345). Post-exercise serum total testosterone at the intensity of 90% of MHR indicated higher levels comparing to the other intensities, which was insignificant (P = 0.384). Serum-free testosterone had increased levels immediately after the activity at the intensity of 70% of MHR, which declined during 1 h later (P = 0.27) comparing to free testosterone levels at the other intensities. With increasing the exercise intensity, the ratio between total testosterone to cortisol at 1 h post-exercise significantly decreased (P = 0.026) while the ratio between free testosterone to cortisol (FTCR) showed insignificant changes (P = 0.075 at 0 h and 0.7 at 1 h post-exercise). The exercise-induced hormonal changes have been summarized in [Table 1].
|Table 1: Pre- and post-exercise serum cortisol, total testosterone, and free testosterone levels at different exercise intensities|
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| Discussion|| |
Indeed, similar to other researches, we found that post-exercise cortisol levels had a positive correlation with the exercise intensity, which remained in high values for longer period at 90% of MHR. This catabolic response may be attributed to muscle glycogen depletion leading to lipolysis for supplying the body energy requirements by the counter regulatory hormones.  There are different reports regarding relationship between the exercise intensity and post-exercise androgen values, which may be due to previous training status of participants, type, intensity, volume, and duration of prescribed exercises. ,,,,,,,, It has been reported that exercise-induced catecholamine release has been accompanied with increased testosterone levels without significant changes in luteinizing hormone (LH). As the FTCR is a useful indicator of exercise work-load and body homeostasis catabolic-anabolic balances), it seems that understanding of exercise influences on androgen levels needs more investigations with repeated measurements, because of pulsating nature of androgen secretion, in longer periods. In addition, with regard to catabolic response to high intensity exercises, restoration of energy resources to maintain optimal homeostasis is suggested.
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