MUSCLE QUALITY AND THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM
The brain and nervous system commands our thoughts, actions, and movements and is regarded as the control matrix of our bodies. It is the endocrine system that regulates how we feel, look, grow and develop. It may be a bit of a stretch to compare the brain to the ‘Great and Powerful Oz’, and the endocrine system to the ‘Man behind the curtain’, however, the analogy works in such a way that it describes the real significance of the endocrine system and the vital role it plays in our well-being.
WHAT IS THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM?
The endocrine system is a system of glands that produce and regulate hormones that drive our body’s growth, metabolism, sexual development and function, sugar and mineral homeostasis, heart rate, and digestion. The stimulation and function of the various glands are dependent upon a complex system that works in concert with each other so each gland can perform its job properly.
The endocrine system is composed of several glands that are all networked together and dependent upon each other to some extent. It starts with the hypothalamus located in the brain. It activates and controls the part of the nervous system that controls involuntary body functions. Many centers of neural control are regulated here such as body temperature, hunger, and sleep. It’s responsible for the direct control of the endocrine system through the pituitary gland.
Listed below are several examples of what comprises the endocrine system and the hormones they produce. We will also look at the evidence that shows how our combination of Right Intensity Training™, improved muscle quality, and our Nutrition Playbook enhances their function.
The pituitary gland influences the hormones that regulate homeostasis and produces a number of different hormones that affect other endocrine glands. Examples of these hormones include:
– Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
– Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which stimulates the thyroid.
Exercise stimulates the production of HGH which builds muscle and burns fat.
What it means: HGH burns fat and builds muscle when it’s released in the body. TSH is critical to a healthy functioning thyroid.
The thyroid gland produces hormones that stimulate bone growth, metabolism, and regulates body temperature.
– Thyroxin is an example of a hormone influenced by exercise.
– Thyroid hormone circulation is increased based on various levels of exercise intensity and the Right Intensity leads to better production and circulation.
What it means: Our thyroid is crucial in maintaining a healthy metabolism and adequate thyroid hormones are necessary for energy, weight maintenance and metabolism.
The adrenal glands secrete hormones that influence the body’s metabolism and blood chemicals; they also create the “fight or flight” response in threatening or stressful situations.
– Cortisol, Adrenaline (Epinephrine), and Noradrenalin (Norepinephrine) respond to exercise and stress while contributing greatly to how we feel, and the energy we have.
– Plasma epinephrine levels increase in response to exercise intensity.
What it means: Epinephrine release from Right Intensity exercise results in increased energy in the form of glucose and free fatty acids and stimulates the liver to release glucose and accelerates the use of glycogen in the muscle. This creates better muscle quality improvements, lower long term blood pressure, and increased energy.*
The pineal gland regulates sleep and melatonin production and daily biological cycles.
A lack of Right Intensity exercise and a poor diet disrupts the production of certain hormones that regulate appetite, fat loss and sleep.
What it means: The better you sleep, the better the chance to lose weight. The more energy you have, the happier you will be!
Ovaries and Testicles
The ovaries and testicles secrete hormones that regulate female and male characteristics.
– Estrogen and testosterone production are most commonly influenced.
What it means: The production of testosterone can lead to greater ability to build muscle but over exertion can result in chronically low levels of testosterone and loss of energy.*
The pancreas regulates insulin and glucagon, which directly relates to our ability to store and release fat.
-Secretes a hormone (insulin) that controls the use of glucose by the body.
What it means: By combining our nutrition plan with our Right Intensity Training™ we can regulate the balance between insulin and glucagon to maintain healthy and stable blood sugar levels to lower body fat and feel better.
The entirety of the endocrine system is a delicate balance in our body and when one aspect of it is disturbed other glands and organs can be affected. Our mission at The Exercise Coach® is to create an environment where we can support and nourish the improvement of this complex system as we ask you to perform exercise that is meaningful and purposeful. While understanding exactly how the various glands are impacted and what hormones are produced isn’t absolutely necessary, we hope it’s comforting to know there is an underlying process occurring within our bodies that improves the quality of our health.
* See article: Endocrine Response to Exercise, Diabetes Mellitus and Fitness
Read the rest of this series:
Muscle Quality: Improving It Will Change Your Life
Muscle Quality and the Neurological System: Part 1
Muscle Quality and the Neurological System: Part 2
Muscle Quality and Fat Loss
Muscle Quality and “Cardio”
Muscle Quality and Cardiovascular Health
The Downside to prolonged “Cardio”
Muscle Quality and Osteoporosis
How to Combat Osteoporosis through Strength Training
Muscle Quality and Gastrointestinal Health
Muscle Quality and Inflammation
Muscle Quality and Brain Health
Muscle Quality and The Endocrine System: Part 1
Muscle Quality and The Endocrine System: Part 2