Testosterone is a hormone that plays an important role in the male reproductive system and other bodily functions. It’s produced in the testicles, which are located inside the scrotum (the loose sac of skin that hangs below your penis). It helps develop male sex organs, and bone mass during puberty; it also helps maintain muscle mass as you age.
It levels typically decrease with age, but this natural decline can be accelerated by certain lifestyle factors such as poor diet or lack of exercise–which may explain why some men experience symptoms like low libido, erectile dysfunction and fatigue earlier than others do.
Testosterone and Diet
Protein is the building block of muscle, and it’s essential for testosterone production. The best sources of protein are chicken breast, fish and eggs. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, try hemp seeds or quinoa as a substitute for animal products (they’re both high in protein).
Testosterone and Exercise
If you’re looking to boost your testosterone levels, exercise is one of the best ways to do it. Research has shown that regular exercise can increase testosterone levels by up to 30%.
The type of exercise that’s best for boosting T depends on what kind of shape you’re in:
- High intensity interval training (HI) – This type of workout involves alternating between short bursts of intense activity and low-intensity recovery periods. Studies have shown that HIIT increases muscle mass and strength while improving insulin sensitivity, which helps prevent diabetes. It also improves cardiovascular health by increasing blood flow throughout the body.
- Strength training – The more muscle mass you have, the more testosterone your body produces naturally–and lifting weights is one way to build lean muscle tissue! In fact, researchers from Harvard University found that men who lifted weights for just 30 minutes three times per week experienced greater increases in testosterone production compared with those who did not lift weights at all during this period (1).
Testosterone and Sleep
You may have heard that sleep is important for testosterone production, but did you know that it’s the quality of your sleep that matters?
Sleep duration and quality are two key factors in determining your body’s ability to produce adequate amounts of this hormone. In fact, studies show that men who get less than six hours of sleep per night have lower levels of T than those who get more than eight hours (1).
As for how much time we should be spending in bed: It depends on our age! Younger guys need between 8-10 hours; middle-aged men should aim for 7-9 hours; while older adults should try their best not to go below 6 hours per night (2).
The other major factor affecting our testosterone levels is circadian rhythm–the natural cycle of waking up and going to bed at certain times throughout each day. If we don’t stick with this schedule consistently over time then our bodies won’t know when it’s supposed to release its highest amount of T during each 24 hour period (3).
Testosterone and Stress
Stress is one of the most common causes of low testosterone. Cortisol, a hormone that’s produced in response to stress, can inhibit testosterone production and increase oestrogen counter effect. Try some relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation–they have been shown to reduce cortisol levels and improve overall health.
Other ways you can reduce stress include getting enough sleep (less than six hours per night is associated with lower T levels) and exercising regularly (30 minutes daily).