Hormone Health and Exercise

Physical activity can both influence and be influenced by hormones, depending on the type and intensity of activity, as well as the hormone’s function. According to Godfrey & Blazevich (2004), sleep and exercise are the two most powerful nonpharmacological stimuli of GH secretion.

Intensity of Physical Activity

Multiple studies show that exercise intensity is a key factor in the hormone response to physical activity among older adults. Godfrey & Blazevich (2004) found that a significant exercise-induced GH response was achieved with high-intensity training (HIT) and heavy resistance training, but only after a certain amount of time. For example, HIT training above lactate threshold resulted in a GH response only after 10 minutes, and sprints were more effective at 30 seconds versus 6 seconds. This same study showed that, in older adults, acute bouts of heavy resistance training resulted in large-scale and immediate increases in testosterone, DHEA and GH and a decrease in cortisol (Godfrey & Blazevich 2004). Low-intensity exercise, in comparison, had no significant GH response in older adults.