Does Running Increase Testosterone?

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Does running increase testosterone?

The answer: it depends.

See, there are different types of running – each one offers different results.

Do you like going for a jog around the neighborhood? Or maybe you prefer sprints?

Depending on which type of running you do most often, you’ll either experience a decrease or increase in your T levels.

To answer your question: Yes, running does increase testosterone levels. But this only applies to sprints. [6, 7, 8]

Long-distance running doesn’t offer the same benefits. It, in fact, lowers your testosterone levels and is catabolic (muscle-wasting). [9]

Just look at the pictures of sprinters and marathon runners. Which one has higher T levels? It’s sprinters, of course.

In this article, I’ll dig deep into the science behind sprints and marathons. And explain how each one affects your hormones and muscle mass.

Effects of Running on Health and Testosterone

Running every day is not a bad idea. It, in fact, offers plenty of benefits.

Looking at studies, we can see that running just 5-10 minutes per day helps reduce the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular problems. [1]

Just 5 minutes of daily running is also shown to improve mood, and reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. [2, 3, 4, 5]

And yes, according to studies, running increases your testosterone too. [24]

Further Reading: Men’s Health Enhancers Guide

Is More Better?

So, does running more than 10 minutes per day bring more benefits? It might, but only up to a certain point.

Let me explain what I mean…

See, research suggests that benefits from running stop at around 4.5 hours of running per week.

In fact, if you run more than this and you aren’t an elite athlete, you might get overtraining symptoms. [9]

That’s correct – by running too much and too often, you’re putting your body at risk. Not only does this increase the risk of injuries, but your muscles become weaker too.

This happens because when you run, or do any strenuous physical exercise for that matter, you’re putting your body under a stressed state.  Normally, this isn’t a problem.

But when you train too much and too often, that’s when your body can’t catch up anymore. This is where stress leads to muscle loss.

When you’re stressed, your body produces extra cortisol, which is a muscle-wasting hormone. Not only that, but cortisol also suppresses your T levels. [9]

A marathon runner running near mountains and a lake

How Much Should You Run?

The amount of running hours you should put in every week depends on several factors.

First off, it depends on your level of fitness.

Are you an athlete? Or someone who just likes to train here and there? Or maybe you don’t train at all?

Secondly, which type of running do you prefer?

If you like long distance running, then you can do more than 4.5 hours of light running per week.

If you’re a sprinting type, then training no more than once or twice per week is enough to give you a punch in testosterone and growth hormone levels (I’ll explain how sprints boost your anabolic hormones in a second).


Running for just 5-15 minutes per day improves your testosterone, mood, and heart health. However, you don’t want to run too often. Constant hard training leads to muscle wastage and can also wreck your T levels. Have no more than 1-3 sprinting sessions, or 4.5 hours of light running a week.


Types of Running

As I’ve said before, there’s a short distance and long distance running.

Short distance runs tend to be more intense. For example, sprints really ramp up your metabolism and cause you to burn fat faster.

Sprints also boost your human growth hormone levels. I’m talking a 771 percent increase in HGH – as shown in some studies. [10]

But the list of benefits doesn’t end here. Sprints also cause a huge spike in your testosterone release, which will lead to bigger and stronger muscles. [6]

On the other hand, long-distance running is more of a cardiovascular exercise. It improves stamina, heart health, and makes your bone marrow younger. [11]

However, long-distance running tends to produce chronic stress in your body. This is a prolonged type of stress, where your body doesn’t have a lot of time to rest. [12, 13]

During periods of chronic stress, you’ll produce excess cortisol, which is muscle wasting and damaging to testosterone.

You see, cortisol and T work in a seesaw manner. When one hormone goes up, the other one crashes down.

a young man preparing for a sprint

Sprinting (Short-Distance Running)

These days, not many people have time for a long run or training session. [14, 15]

If that sounds like you, you might want to try HIIT.

You see, HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, and it’s a form of exercise that involves short bursts of intense physical activity followed by rest periods.

HIIT workouts only last for 15-20 minutes. And they give you the same, possibly even better benefits than regular exercise. This makes them extremely time-efficient. [16, 17]

Sprints are one of the most effective HIIT exercises. They not only burn a bunch of calories but also keep your metabolism firing for hours after exercise.

And if you thought that was cool, check this out: Sprints are shown to dramatically raise anabolic hormone secretion – including testosterone and HGH (human growth hormone). [6, 18, 19]

In some studies, Human Growth Hormone secretion was boosted by 771% after a short burst of intense exercise.

Human Growth Hormone is vital for keeping you young and strong.

After you hit 30, it starts reducing drastically, even more than testosterone. This makes it important to do exercises such as sprints to keep HGH elevated. [20]

a graph showing a decline of human growth hormone levels as we age

            Image courtesy of: American HGH Clinics

Other benefits of sprints include:
  • Boosts Brain Function – Sprints cause a release in BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), which stimulates the growth of new brain cells. Not only that, but BDNF also protects your brain from oxidative stress and free radical damage.
  • Saves Time – Research conducted by Journal of Applied Physiology found that just 15 minutes of sprinting results in same endurance benefits as 9-12 hours of regular exercise.
  • Makes You Harder to Kill – Sprinting might be fun, but it’s not easy. These short bursts of intense activity require a huge amount of willpower and mental strength. The more you do them, the tougher you become both mentally, and physically.

Marathons (Long-Distance Running)

Long distance running might not be beneficial for your testosterone, but it has its place in terms of boosting overall health.

See, when you run for long distances, you’ll have higher levels of stamina. Your heart health will also improve.

However, there’s a fine balance between running just enough, and running too much.

See, long-distance runners have higher levels of cortisol during marathons. [12, 13]

Some studies show that this cortisol stays elevated long after they’d finished a marathon. It doesn’t take us a doctor to know that this isn’t good.

Cortisol is a stress hormone, and normally, it serves to wake us up in the morning and get us going.

However, when you’re in a constant state of cortisol influx, that’s when things go south.

You start to feel stressed, your muscles become flat, your libido gets weak – and your testosterone levels plummet down. [21, 22, 23]

That said, if boosting testosterone is not your top priority, here are the benefits you’ll get from running long distances[1]:

  • Improved Stamina – You’ll be able to run for longer without getting out of breath. Your stamina levels will be higher than sprinters.
  • Enhanced Mood – Ever heard of runner’s high? It’s a euphoric and elated feeling you get after running for long distances.
  • Reduced Risk of Cancer and Heart Diseases – Going for a morning jog will improve your cardiovascular health, and make your resistant to diseases such as a stroke, heart attack, and even cancer.
  • Improved Cognition & Sleep – After you’re done with an exhaustive long run, you’ll not only sleep better but your brain function will be improved too. Long distance running is also shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

You Might Also Like: Men’s Testosterone Guide

Which Type of Running Boosts Your Testosterone The Most?

Read this carefully; Short distance running such as sprints are the most effective way of boosting your T levels.

Sprints also raise your HGH levels, which are responsible for making you look young, strong, and lean.

On the other hand, long-distance running is not friendly to your male hormone.

Running for too long causes your body to produce extra cortisol, which negatively impacts your T levels.


Key point: For raising testosterone and HGH, sprinting is the most effective type of running. For boosting stamina and mood, long-distance running is a better option.


a young man tying his sprinting shoes in a city

Conclusion

Running is one of the most effective ways to boost your health as a man.

There are two main types of running – sprints and marathons. Also known as short distance and long distance running.

If you’re looking to maximize your testosterone levels, then sprints are for you.

Research shows that short and intense bursts of running cause a huge release in testosterone and human growth hormone.

Unlike sprints, long-distance running will not boost your T-levels.

It will, in fact, negatively impact your male hormone, since long runs raise your cortisol production. When cortisol levels get high, testosterone crashes down.

However, if maximizing T levels is not your biggest priority, then long distance running might offer you some powerful benefits.

Including improved mood and cognition, higher stamina levels, and reduced risk of a heart disease.

Next up: A Look At Men’s Health Enhancers

References for the article: Does running increase testosterone?

Testosterone Guides and Articles

At Charged Muscle, it’s our aim to help you get the most out of your life by helping you boost your testosterone levels. We all know what it’s like to feel suboptimal in the bedroom, the gym, and in everyday life when your confidence is lacking. This is why I’ve put together the below guides to help you reach your goals! Why not check them out, you may find just what you’re looking for.

 

 

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