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Does Walking Increase Testosterone?

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In order to boost your testosterone levels you need to know all the best strategies — both in and out of the weights area.

When we think of physical activities that increase T we typically think about throwing heavy weights around or maybe doing some high-intensity cardio- but could more regular everyday activities such as walking help you increase your T levels too?

In this article we ask the question: Does walking increase testosterone?

We’re covering all the major points here regarding the activity and the hormonal results, explaining points such as:

  • Walking as a physical activity
  • How weight loss helps increase T
  • How walking increases testosterone and reduces cortisol
  • Other benefits of walking
  • Final word

Walking as a physical activity

Walking is a great addition to your exercise program that compliments weight lifting really well- but unlike high-intensity activities it adds very little stress.

Alongside cycling and swimming, walking is one of the most convenient, accessible, easy to plan activities that can be enjoyed on your own or socially in groups- you can build walking into a busy lifestyle, and dependent on where you live you may have numerous different routes to take that will keep you interested and allow you to discover new areas.

It’s also a great calorie burner, and good for your overall physical and mental health- it helps to reduce the risk of certain illnesses and provides a low-impact alternative to sports or running.

The question is though whether or not it plays a part in those wanting to increase their testosterone levels naturally?


Does walking increase testosterone?

It does, in a number of ways, with the first benefit being weight loss.

Being overweight reduces not only your health and quality of life, but also your lifespan – it has drastic effects on your health and being overweight or obese decreases your T levels [1] so any physical activity that promotes weight loss will be beneficial to T levels- and walking is great for weight loss.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis‘ or NEAT is energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise [2]. Anything that is not structured exercise is classed as NEAT- yard work, dancing and walking are all examples.

James Levine [3], who introduced the concept of NEAT, goes on to suggest that obese individuals have the innate habit of being seated for 2.5 hours per day, but with the inclusion of physical activities can potentially expend a minimum additional 350kcal per day- contributing to weight loss. 


does walking increase testosterone

Key point: Walking is a very accessible past time and is classed as a ‘NEAT’ activity


So what about the link between weight loss and testosterone?

There is a definite relationship between weight and T levels – with androgen levels having a significant and negative correlation with body mass index [4].

For example, a study by Strain et al [5] saw 11 obese men (100-305% above normal weight) have their testosterone levels tracked during weight loss, finding that T levels increased proportionality to the degree of weight loss over a 5-39 month period- overall T levels increased by almost 60%

Likewise, a study by Kumagai et al [6] found that 90 minutes of aerobic physical activity over a 12 week period increased T in overweight men – and these changes were very much correlated with the number of steps taken per day!

Grandys et al [7] found that moderate aerobic physical activity increased testosterone over a 5 week period (4 times per week) in 15 young and healthy man.

Lastly, a study by Vaamonde [8] demonstrated that those who are physically active subjects seem to have a more anabolic hormonal environment- this includes higher T levels as well as lower cortisol levels, suggesting a better anabolic versus catabolic status.


Key point: Walking helps you lose fat. Studies have shown by testosterone levels increase proportionally to with fat loss. To take the extra step for boosting testosterone – all you have to do is take ‘extra steps’.


Cortisol and Testosterone

Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone – it is secreted during high-intensity physical or mental tension. When you produce more of it, your body lowers your testosterone levels to keep a hormonal balance

We’ve talked a lot in previous articles about the negative impact that cortisol- it is essentially puts brake the brake on muscle and strength gains, as opposed to the muscle-stimulating accelerator of T.

As we know, heavy weight training and HIIT are absolutely brilliant at increasing T levels, and we strongly suggest that you include them in your exercise programming.

The problem is though that strength and high-intensity training is physically tiring and over time this can lead to fatigue, tiredness and ultimately over-training – this is when you are constantly tired and cant progress in your training [9].

Once you’re in an over-trained state a whole host of physical things will happen including reduced testosterone and growth hormone, and increased cortisol. 

In order to reduce cortisol you need to employ activities such as walking, particularly if you have access to the outdoors- a study in the Journal of Extreme Physiology and Medicine [10]  suggests that outdoor, natural environments provide some of the best all-round health benefits by increasing physical activity levels and reducing cortisol. 


The-benefits-of-walking-and-testosterone

Key Point: Walking reduces cortisol, particularly if you walk in natural, forest areas.


Other benefits of walking

Walking isn’t just great for improving your male hormone levels- here are a few other benefits of walking that you might not had thought about.

  • Getting back to nature – A study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology [11] showed that that forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure when compared to city walking at the same intensity.
  • Feel good factor – walking floods your body with endorphins, our natural feel good chemicals. It can be good to escape the ‘rat race’, ponder your thoughts and spend some quiet time alone.
  • Social – Walking is also a great family and friend activity with many walking groups available too. The release of endorphins reduces our inhibitions and allows us to have more deep and meaningful conversations.
  • Good for business meetings – Walking meetings are a great way to discuss business objectives away from the board room.
  • Its better for you than running – for a muscular frame anyway- its low impact and won’t hinder your muscle gains or speed like jogging can.

Final word – Does Walking Increase Testosterone?

It is important to be physically active on a regular basis in order to promote an overall healthy lifestyle where your hormones can flourish. Walking is an accessible activity that can be built into a busy lifestyle and research shows a number of physical and mental benefits.

The inclusion of walking into your routine helps you to lose weight and boost testosterone, as well as reduce cortisol increases with your weight training and high-intensity workouts.

It should form part of every man’s exercise program- and remember, it doesn’t have to be at high-intensity. Enjoy yourself and have fun.


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References

  1. Dhindsa, S et al. Testosterone concentrations in diabetic and nondiabetic obese men. Diabetes Care. 2010; 33(6): 1186-92
  2. Levine, JA. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002; 16(4): 679-702.
  3. Levine, JA. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis- the coaching tiger hidden dragon of societal weight gain. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, Vascular Biology. 2006; 26: 729-736
  4. Lima, N et al. Decreased androgen levels in massively obese men may be associated with impaired function of the gonadostat. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Nov;24(11):1433-7.
  5. Strain, GW et al. Effect of massive weight loss on hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal function in obese men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988 66(5): 1019-23.
  6. Kumagai, H et al. Increased physical activity has a great er effect than reduced energy intake on lifestyle modification-induced increases in testosterone. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2015- 1-6
  7. Grandys, M et al. The effect of endurance training on muscle strength in young, healthy men in relation to hormonal status. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2008; 59 Suppl 7: 89-103.
  8. Vaamonde, D et al. Physically active men show better semen parameters and hormone values than sedentary men. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2012; 112(9): 3267-73
  9. Bell, LM et al. Psycho-physiological markers of overreaching and overtraining in endurance sports: a review of the evidence. Med Sport. 2013; 17(2):  81-97, 2013
  10.  Gladwell, VF et al. The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all. Extrem Physiol Med. 2013; 2: 3.
  11. Park, JP et al. The physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing): evidence from field experiments in 24 forests across Japan. Environ Health Prev Med. 2010 Jan; 15(1): 18–26.