When you exercise, several different hormones are released to serve a variety of different functions. Depending on whether you’re doing strength training or cardiovascular exercise and at which level intensity, this hormonal response can vary slightly. Here is a list of hormones that are affected by exercise and the role that they play.
Epinephrine (or adrenaline) and Norepinephrine
During all types of physical activity and in anticipation of exercise, adrenaline and norepinephrine are released from the brain. This hormonal response triggers a faster heart beat because blood vessels constrict and blood pressure increases. These two hormones also play a role in raising the metabolic rate quickly, and in breaking down sugars and fat for energy during exercise. As intensity of exercise increases the amount of adrenaline and norepinephrine released also increases.
In addition to playing a role in healthy sexual function in men and women, testosterone is secreted during heavy strength training to help with muscle growth and repair. More is produced in men than in women but for both genders, this hormone helps the body produce new red blood cells. This helps cells to utilize oxygen in the blood more effectively.
Growth hormone is secreted during sleep and during exercise in order for the turnover (or new growth) of muscle cells, collagen and bone. Getting enough sleep and plenty of exercise helps to maintain healthy levels of growth hormone thus leading to healthy joints, a strong immune system and glowing skin.
Depending on what you ate before you exercised, insulin is secreted by the pancreas to help bring the glucose that in your blood (from your pre-workout meal) into your cells. If you do not eat within 2 hours before you exercise, very little insulin if any will be released from your pancreas during exercise and your cells will likely not have enough fuel for an effective workout. For maximum effectiveness while exercising, try to eat a balance meal at least 1 hour and at most 2 hours before you begin exercising.