Exercise increases serum testosterone and sex hormone-binding globulin levels in older men

Metabolism. 1996 Aug;45(8):935-9. doi: 10.1016/s0026-0495(96)90258-9.


We examined the effects of moderate physical activity on serum luteinizing hormone (LH), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), and testosterone levels in seven sedentary but otherwise healthy men aged 66 to 76 years (mean +/- SD, 70 +/- 4). Blood samples were obtained at 10-minute intervals for 4 hours before, during, and 4 hours after 60 minutes of cycle ergometry. Blood samples were also obtained every 10 minutes for 9 hours during a separate day to control for normal diurnal variation in serum testosterone levels. Serum testosterone increased 39%, SHBG 19%, total serum protein 13%, and the free testosterone index 23% during exercise (P < .01 for all). Testosterone and SHBG levels during the 4-hour sampling period after exercise were similar to values obtained before exercise and on the morning and afternoon of the control day. LH concentrations were unaltered during or after exercise. The change in SHBG levels during exercise correlated positively with the change in testosterone concentrations (r = .74, P = .09). We conclude that short-term exercise produces a transient elevation in serum testosterone levels in elderly men, which is partly due to an increase in serum SHBG concentrations. The concomitant increase in total protein and the rapid return of total protein and SHBG to baseline values after exercise indicate that hemoconcentration partly contributes to the exercise-associated increase in circulating testosterone levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / blood*
  • Exercise Test
  • Humans
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism*
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone