Exercise training improves free testosterone in lifelong sedentary aging men

Endocr Connect. 2017 Jul;6(5):306-310. doi: 10.1530/EC-17-0082. Epub 2017 May 17.


As the impact of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on systemic hormones in aging men is unstudied to date, we investigated whether total testosterone (TT), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), free testosterone (free-T) and cortisol (all in serum) were altered following HIIT in a cohort of 22 lifelong sedentary (62 ± 2 years) older men. As HIIT requires preconditioning exercise in sedentary cohorts, participants were tested at three phases, each separated by six-week training; baseline (phase A), following conditioning exercise (phase B) and post-HIIT (phase C). Each measurement phase used identical methods. TT was significantly increased following HIIT (~17%; P < 0.001) with most increase occurring during preconditioning (~10%; P = 0.007). Free-T was unaffected by conditioning exercise (P = 0.102) but was significantly higher following HIIT compared to baseline (~4.5%; P = 0.023). Cortisol remained unchanged from A to C (P = 0.138). The present data indicate a combination of preconditioning, and HIIT increases TT and SHBG in sedentary older males, with the HIIT stimulus accounting for a small but statistically significant increase in free-T. Further study is required to determine the biological importance of small improvements in free-T in aging men.

Keywords: HIIT; SHBG; exercise; steroid; testosterone.