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Four Key Hormones and How to Keep Them Balanced

You’ve probably been hearing a lot of about hormones these days.  But did you know, hormones are a very important part of your overall health?  Here are four key hormones you need to know about and tips for keeping your levels normal.

 

Testosterone

Testosterone is widely known as a male hormone, but females have it too, just at much lower level.  In the right amounts, testosterone can help increase muscle mass and strength, and may increase brain function.  A low level of testosterone can lead to be detrimental, leading to ill effects as one ages.  The most commonly known is a lower sex drive, but more significant changes may include a higher level of fat storage and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

How to Optimize Your Levels:

As with most hormones, your everyday lifestyle is a large factor on your level of testosterone.  Maintaining a healthy weight with diet and exercise along with proper sleep can help.  One study has shown that saturated and monounsaturated fat were powerful predictors of levels.  Intense exercise has also been shown to boost your testosterone levels.

 

Estrogen

Like testosterone in males, estrogen is typically thought of as a female-only hormone, but is actually present in males at a much lower level.  At regular levels, estrogen helps to regulate female reproductive cycles.  Some studies have suggested that estrogen may affect muscle recovery and brain health.  While those benefits aren’t confirmed, one thing we do know is that estrogen levels can impact how fat is stored in the body leaving you with extra fat tissue.

 

How to Optimize Your Levels:

Regular exercise and a healthy diet are the best way to fight estrogen imbalances.  Women will experience a natural shift in estrogen post-menopause.  But, that isn’t to say they lack control over their estrogen levels in the meantime.  Moderating the consumption of phytoestrogens such as soy may help to keep levels balanced.  Work with your physician to keep your body composition levels at a healthy range, which may also help maintain a proper estrogen level.

 

Insulin

Best known for its role in diabetes, insulin actually plays a significant role in your metabolism.  Insulin is an anabolic hormone, meaning it helps the body to build complex molecules.  When you eat during the day, the carbohydrates in the food enter your blood stream.  The body then releases insulin, which opens up your cells to uptake blood sugar (referred to as glucose).  The cells, in turn, can build up their energy stores while keeping blood sugar in check.  Poor dietary habits can lead to an over-releasing of insulin allowing our bodies to develop an insulin resistance.  Insulin levels that are not properly maintained can lead to Type II diabetes.

 

How to Optimize Your Levels:

Besides mindful eating practices, a regular exercise routine can be a huge help.  In the short-term, a single workout session can mimic the effects of insulin on the body, helping to open up cells and shuttle in glucose.  A long-term plan and consistent exercise can have a tremendous impact and help mitigate the symptoms of insulin resistance.

 

Cortisol

Cortisol controls energy levels in times of stress.  Periods of stress cause the body to break down proteins and release glucose into the blood stream.  These increases in energy are meant to help us escape danger or recover from extreme effort.  Cortisol spikes can also be experienced during intense exercise, and continues to rise as the workout session goes on.  Short spikes are necessary and normal.  The issue is when cortisol levels are always high, which can a symptom of overtraining or being overstressed.  Studies suggest a constant elevated level of cortisol have been shown to cause cardiovascular issues as well as a possible change in eating habits.

 

How to Optimize Your Levels:

The good news is that you aren’t powerless against stress.  Running, strength training and other forms of exercise can help decrease stress levels.  The key factor is moderation, both for frequency and intensity. Too many hard sessions in a row could lead to overtraining and chronically high levels of cortisol.  Meditation is another powerful antidote for combatting stress.

 

At Victory Weight Loss and Wellness we focus on the whole you, and helping you achieve and live a healthy lifestyle.  If you believe you may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance of these or other hormones, contact our office today.  We have several options available, including pallets or creams, to help you treat trouble areas.  We’ll also help you create and stick to a plan of action for a healthier you.

 

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Exercising in Summer Heat

It seems the hot and humid days we’re used to in the Tri-State have finally arrived.  After a month of endless rain, we’re now dealing with thick and sticky weather.  For active exercisers, summer heat and humidity can wreak havoc on your daily routine.  After you get past the mental block of “But it’s too hot!” there are several things to keep in mind when trying to get in a summer walk or run.

Our friends at Active.com have provided these 8 tips for exercising in summer heat.

8 Tips for Exercising in Summer Heat