Saturday, October 27, 2018

Sprinting and Human Growth Hormone

As the name implies Human Growth Hormone, or HGH, is responsible for growth seen in children and young adults.  It's produced in the pituitary gland in a series of pulses, with about 75% being released while we sleep. When we stop growing taller, in our early 20s, the rate of production of HGH drops off rapidly.  By the time we reach middle age, our rate of HGH production is a tenth what it was when we were children.

Source: Mercola Fitness

Aside from making us grow when we're young, HGH is responsible for a lot of other beneficial affects on the body, including adding muscle and strengthening bones.  In adults, it also plays a role in improving cognition, reducing weight, improving skin, increased energy, and improving mood.  With effects like that, as the saying goes, it's a shame that youth is wasted on the young.

Sprinting and Human Growth Hormone Production

One key difference between moderate and high-intensity exercise is that when you reach your anaerobic limits, your pituitary gland releases starts pumping out HGH.  These HGH pulses are signals to the body that instigate a number of age-related bodily functions and the production of other hormones like DHEA and melatonin.

The most important of these signals causes by HGH, as far as finding the fountain of youth, is the one seen by the liver, which causes it to produce insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).  The benefits of HGH in adults can be measured by how much IGF-1 is produced.  Anything over a 20% increase in production is considered to significant, as far as anti-aging is concerned.  And high-intensity exercise increases the production of IGF-1 by over 700% during the workout, and for several hours afterward.

Of course, you can't go out and sprint the same way you can when you go for a jog. Sprinting, and any high intensity exercise, has to be done in intervals, because they'll quickly deplete the amount of energy (in the form of ATP) available in your muscles.  Not to mention the fact that, if you're running at 90% of your maximum, you'll be left gasping for breath pretty quickly.  If you're just getting started, you may find it hard to run, really RUN, for longer than 15 seconds.

Instead of just going all out for 30 minutes, which isn't really possible anyway, you need to try working in intervals.  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) gives you the time to work at your maximum effort and then to recover, and go again.  Sprinterval helps you increase your work capacity over the course of a six week program. It's free, and available for iPhones and Android devices.

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