It seems like everything these days takes a toll on your hormones, but that could also just be because I'm a 22 year old female who just graduated college and is contemplating my career path and whether or not I should get a cat or if my water filter is clean or if I'm changing my sheets often enough or if I'm doing life right - you know? But who knows.
I've been reading more and more studies about everyday rituals that may have an impact on hormone regulation that you'd never expect to have an impact, like using laundry detergent. What the heck?
I was recently told by my dermatologist that my frequent hot yoga classes are contributing to the new found blemishes on my face because of...wait for it... hormones!! Which brought me in to this rabbit hole of researching the effects of workouts on your hormones. Lucky for you folks, I'm going to sum up the best and worst of my findings here.
First, both endurance and strength training exercises have a positive impact on hormone regulation. Running and lifting weights increases human growth hormone (HGH) which helps to metabolize fat in your body, increase collagen production, muscle turnover, and more. On the other hand, intense endurance training can lead to excess cortisol in your body. Cortisol is responsible for maintaining your body's reaction to stress, anxiety and tension. If you have chronic high levels of cortisol in your system from continuous endurance training, your body thinks it's constantly in fight or flight mode and therefore is too busy to metabolize the fat in your body.
Testosterone, another hormone released from strength training exercises, also helps to fight belly fat and increase muscle mass. However, there's a catch here as well. Too much testosterone in the body stimulates your sebaceous glands to create excess sebum, which is an oily substance found beneath the skin. If the sebum beneath the skin mixes with bacteria (from per say, touching your face or exercising in a hot room like my hot yoga sculpt class), then your pores become clogged and form blemishes.
Me, basking in the sun, after a long walk and 15 minutes on TRX bands.
Low-intensity exercises and body weight strength training are great options to reap the benefits of physical activity without putting your hormones in jeopardy. If you're struggling with acne or aren't seeing results from your current exercise regimen, try switching it up with Pilates, TRX, long distance walks or swimming laps!