Exercise is one of the key lifestyle factors in helping you attain optimal health in terms of physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise stimulates the endocrine system to produce hormones, which essentially support our health and make us fitter.

Here are the top two types of exercise that are the most beneficial to support our hormones and our health:

Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise is a type of exercise where you get a bit out of breath over a sustained time of at least 20 minutes. Continuous exercise like fast walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming are all types of cardiovascular exercise.

Strength and Resistance Training

Doctors recommend that we all do some form of resistance and strength exercise at least three times a week.

Strength training becomes particularly important as we get older and we need to actively combat a condition called sarcopenia, which is a loss of muscle mass and strength. Sarcopenia directly correlates to the physiological age-related decline in some key hormones such as growth hormone and sex steroids.

In women, this will be the decline of oestrogen levels as their ovaries become less responsive as a woman reaches menopause and beyond. In addition, the risk of developing osteoporosis also increases in post-menopausal women, so strength exercise will help keep bones strong too.

Strength training also helps prevent metabolic syndrome which comprises of insulin resistance. This leads to type 2 diabetes mellitus, inflammation hypertension, dyslipidaemia, and fatty liver disease. This is because resistance exercise benefits the hormones involved in metabolism. As the muscles are a very metabolically active tissue, the benefit derived from strength training persists even after you’ve stopped exercising.

Some examples of resistant training are yoga, swimming, and the use of resistance bands in fitness practices like Pilates.

For strength training, hand weights, dumbbells or even improvising with bags of sugar of empty plastic milk bottles filled with water, all provide good options for weights.