The summer months are approaching rapidly and that might mean it's time to reassess and cement plans for warmer days, travel, and barbecues. This might include optimizing lifestyle habits and even hormonal health. Yes, that's right...hormonal health. It's often openly discussed in women's health but over the last several years, we're hearing more and more as it relates to guys.
Men’s health is a multi-billion dollar industry full of treatments, systems, and specialized supplements. I will even agree that some of them are quite effective, but before you dive down the rabbit hole leading to higher free testosterone for four easy payments let's talk about what you can do today to help your hormone balance without the infomercial.
The sun has been (understandably) demonized for years. With a rapid rise in skin cancer over the last several decades we may, as a society, have enjoyed tanning oil a bit too much. However, as with most things in life, the key is moderation. Sunlight exposure has a host of benefits in controlled doses from increased serotonin levels (helping ward off depression), to increased vitamin D production (strengthening bone density), to decreasing your risk of various cancers. The last reason is quite compelling. Lack of sunlight makes us more vulnerable to certain cancers such as colon and prostate. The modern world has pulled us away from time under the sun so it's time we reverse that trend.
Sleep and circadian rhythm are topics that have been covered exhaustively by health and fitness publications for years. Professionals hammer away at this message for a very important reason. Healthy and consistent sleep patterns are the number one way to balance hormone and neurotransmitter production. If you are concerned about your testosterone levels or your ability to recover from work and exercise, get to sleep. If there is one thing in this blog that you need to protect and ensure, it is an adequate number of hours in bed. It is the number one thing sacrificed to family and has a host of negative impacts. So set the alarm to go to bed, not just to wake up. Get that shut eye!
Balance is everything when it comes to optimizing our bodies. This is particularly true with nutrition. I am not a dietitian, and we have an expert team of Registered Dietician Nutritionists at the HCC who are readily available to guide you towards a stronger relationship with food when you are ready to put the work in. Eating a varied diet of whole foods with their guidance will give you a cornerstone to a healthier body, especially when it comes to the molecule that is an essential precursor to ALL steroid hormones (including testosterone), cholesterol. As a molecule, cholesterol has gotten a bad reputation over the years, but as nutrition science has advanced, we have been reminded of just how important it is to have a healthy level in our diet.
The last piece I want to touch on is three for the price of one.
- Move your body. Fitness trends will ebb and flow as professionals try new ways to keep people engaged with physical activity. No matter what type of exercise you enjoy, I challenge you to get out and move more.
- Put screens down and take a break from stimulants such as caffeine. This will give your body some much needed time to reset your neurotransmitter levels, which in turn, allow you to keep a higher baseline energy level.
- Find a hobby that is impossible to master. I personally enjoy jiu-jitsu because I know there is no limit to the skill that I can develop. I will never master that craft and that keeps me engaged with a process that requires significant effort to achieve the hit of dopamine that we all crave.
Movement, neurotransmitter resets, and pursuing crafts of any flavor lead to more confidence as you engage with the world. That confidence leads to a body that finds hormonal balance easily. This is homeostasis at its simplest.
Sunlight, sleep, quality food and movement are all great and practical methods to assist with hormone balance. While there is a time and place for treatments, specialized systems, and supplementation, this should not be the place to start. Before you turn to those alternatives try setting a solid foundation for your own body to build from. You will be surprised at what it can accomplish.