European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 8, pp 1503–1509 | Cite as

Cortisol and testosterone dynamics following exhaustive endurance exercise

  • Travis Anderson
  • Amy R. Lane
  • Anthony C. Hackney
Original Article

Abstract

Purpose

Cortisol (C) and testosterone (T) are impacted significantly by prolonged endurance exercise with inverse responses. Increases in C are witnessed concurrently with decrements in T, possibly impacting recovery. This study was conducted to assess the dynamics of C and free T (fT) concentration and recovery time following an exhaustive endurance exercise session (EES).

Methods

12 endurance-trained males (X ± SD: VO2max 66.3±4.8 ml/kg/min, age 22.8 ± 3.1 years, body fat 11.0 ± 1.4 %, training 7.1 ± 3.2 years) completed a treadmill EES at ventilatory threshold (74.7 ± 4.6 % of VO2max; 96.9 ± 10.8 min). Basal blood C and fT were collected at baseline: −48, −24 h, and immediately before (0 h) the EES as well as immediately (+0 h), +24 h, +48 h, and +72 h after the EES. Blood glucose (G) was measured to confirm no undue influence on C. Statistically data were analyzed with repeated measures ANOVA (LSD post hoc).

Results

C (nmol/L) increased significantly from −48 h (321 ± 59) to +0 h (701 ± 178) (p < 0.001), and displayed a baseline overshoot with +24 h (209 ± 67) being significantly lower than −48 and +0 h (p < 0.03). fT (pmol/L) decreased significantly from −48 h (161 ± 40) to +0 h (106 ± 38) (p < 0.01) and remained lower at +24 h (110 ± 33) and +48 h (129 ± 30) (p < 0.001). G remained stable throughout. A moderately negative correlation (r = −0.636, p < 0.026) was found between C and fT at +0 h.

Conclusions

EES recovery may require 48 h for C and 72 h for fT to return to baseline values. Furthermore, C and fT were only correlated immediately post-exercise. Future research should perform more frequent measurements throughout time course.

Keywords

Stress Endocrine Recovery Overtraining 

Abbreviations

C

Cortisol

fT

Free testosterone

GnRH

Gonadotropin releasing hormone

Hb

Hemoglobin

Hct

Hematocrit

HPA axis

Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis

LH

Luteinizing hormone

REPANOVA

Repeated analysis of variance

RPE

Rate of perceived exertion

VO2max

Maximal volume of oxygen uptake

VT

Ventilatory threshold

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Travis Anderson
    • 1
  • Amy R. Lane
    • 1
  • Anthony C. Hackney
    • 1
  1. 1.Endocrine Section, Applied Physiology Laboratory, Department of Exercise and Sport ScienceUniversity of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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