Testosterone plays a vital role in men's health. A hormone that regulates the sex organs, testosterone also impacts metabolism and bone loss, and low testosterone can compromise men's health.
According to the Urology Care Foundation, roughly 20 percent of men in their 60s have low testosterone, a figure that increases to 30 percent among men in their 70s. While a gradual decline in testosterone levels is part of the aging process, low testosterone can have a negative impact on the body. Low testosterone levels increase body fat and reduce muscle mass, and low testosterone can even lead to depression. Difficulty concentrating is another potential side effect of low testosterone. Men with low testosterone may also experience weakened bones, a symptom that could leave them more susceptible to osteoporosis.
While there are prescription medications designed to boost testosterone, oftentimes low testosterone levels are a byproduct of the lifestyle choices men make. That means men might be able to increase their testosterone levels naturally by making certain lifestyle changes.
* Maintain a healthy weight. Men who are obese or overweight are more susceptible to various ailments or conditions, including low testosterone. When a body is carrying excessive weight, it secretes more aromatase, an enzyme that helps convert testosterone to estrogen, a group of hormones that promote the development and maintenance of female characteristics of the body. Maintaining a healthy weight is a great way to avoid the overproduction of aromatase, which can help the body maintain adequate testosterone levels.
* Make time for sleep. Poor sleeping habits affect many hormones in the male body, and testosterone is no exception. Men who don't get enough sleep each night may suffer from low testosterone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep needs vary depending on a person's age, but research has shown that men over the age of 18 need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night to perform at their peak. Younger men whose bodies should not yet be experiencing the gradual decline of testosterone levels common to aging should examine their sleeping habits if their testosterone levels have started to decline. The solution could be as simple as getting more sleep.
* Get off the couch. Men who live sedentary lifestyles could be suffering from low testosterone because they're spending too much time on the couch. Testosterone adapts to the body's needs, so a man who isn't active is unknowingly letting his body tell his brain that it doesn't need as much testosterone to build muscles and bones. More active men's bodies are sending a signal to the brain that the body needs more testosterone. Therefore, adopting a more active lifestyle can help men naturally restore their testosterone levels.
* Work to reduce stress. Men who are overly stressed may also suffer from low testosterone.That's because the body responds to stress by producing more of the hormone cortisol. The more cortisol the body produces, the less capable it is of producing testosterone. Men who work long hours might want to cut back on their work schedules, while those whose stress comes from other sources might want to find ways to more effectively manage that stress.
Low testosterone affects millions of men across the globe. While lower testosterone is often a byproduct of aging, many men could be making lifestyle choices that are negatively affecting their testosterone levels.