Low T? I Pity the Foo

Yeah, I’m quoting Mr. T. I liked The A-Team, it was a part of my youth.

A while ago I made a commitment to publish a story a day for a year. When I made that commitment I did so knowing that I would run into obstacles. Work, the boys, marriage, exercise, life in general keeps me pretty busy. But, banging away at lunchtime and after the kids go to bed I’ve managed to find the time.

What I didn’t really expect to run into was, “What the heck am I going to write about today?” Usually, what I wrote about yesterday leaves something open for expansion or clarification, leading to today’s post. But today I sat down and had…nothing.

Fortunately for that daily commitment I get several health and lifestyle daily email blasts, and when I’ve got nothing they’ve got something. Recently Livestrong.com had an article on boosting testosterone.

Testosterone. What’s it good for? Let’s pop over to healthline.com and find out. Testosterone is important for your energy levels, weight regulation, mood, muscle and bone density, to name a few. It’s really important for your sex life and fertility, so gentlemen, keep your T levels up.

If you think this is random, disconnected from yesterday’s post on modern lifestyle and toxicity, just hang in for a minute. Or pop over and read that Livestrong article, but do come back, m‘kay?

Okay, you’re back. So, to sum up, in order to keep up your T levels you need

  • Resistance training
  • Proper diet, including supplements, and cutting out the crap
  • Good sleep

As you dive into the details, little things pop out.

“Your best options are compound lifts that use multiple muscle groups or even your whole body…” (Emphasis mine) This article specifies weight lifting, another article says “…push-ups,…and other forms of resistance training…”

“Testosterone has a mortal enemy, cortisol…” and they note the two great causes of heightened cortisol; sleep deprivation and stress.

“Sugar boosts your insulin levels, leading to lowered levels of testosterone.” Eat sugar and within two hours your testosterone is down.

Okay, I haven’t written on supplementation. Yet. But all that other stuff? Ahem;

Now, this isn’t to toot my own horn, or get you to read my other stuff. Okay, maybe it is, a little, but it’s also to drive home one of my major themes. Yoga and Pilates are not just for the ladies, they are tough, whole body workouts that will do everyone a world of good. The positive effects will bleed out of the gym and into all aspects of your lives.

But that’s not all.

I got into yoga almost by accident. Okay, completely by accident. Then, over the course of that first year, I discovered so many benefits that I knew I was in it for life. That first year was 11 years ago and today I am still finding benefits.

I was a runner for a long time. I put many years into some pretty tough martial arts training. I’ve played a few games of hockey, the occasional tennis match, hiked up a mountain or three, and slid down the snowy slopes on wooden planks. All of these things, and more, have been tough on my joints, which means I have been forced to confront a middle age dilemma; the need for exercise, but the pain of arthritis.

You need to exercise, and exercise hard. It’s good for your stress, sleep, work life, family life, and for your love life, but so many exercises are hard on arthritic old joints.

Myself? I really can’t run anymore, my knees, hips and lower back won’t let me. I hate ellipticals and stationary bikes. I can ride in the summer, but winter? It was -15C  when I got up this morning. Weightlifting bores me to tears (I’ve never been able to maintain a routine for more that a couple of months) and I hate stretching with the white hot heat of a thousand suns.

Life is busier now, and I’m short on time. I can’t go to the gym 6 days a week for 2 hours anymore. So, yoga and Pilates; high intensity, low impact. Resistance training, aerobic workout and my stretching routine all in a single workout, sometimes in a single posture. A workout that’s  efficient, keeping my gym time to a minimum, and it’s a workout I enjoy, rather than suffer through.

And in the end, enjoyment is the key. If you don’t enjoy it, you’re not going to do it. My youngest is 5, so I need to be here, fit, healthy and strong, for a long time yet to come. For that, I need to maintain healthy testosterone levels, and for that I say, “Yoga.”

Cross posted at Medium.com.