Exercise, Training, and the Hypothalamo–Pituitary–Adrenal Axis

Part of the Endocrine Updates book series (ENDO, volume 29)


Exercise represents a potent physiological stimulus upon the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Two major factors modulate the HPA axis response to exercise: intensity and duration of exercise. Endurance training per se does not induce permanent hypercortisolism as endurance-trained subjects have similar biological markers of HPA axis activity in resting condition than healthy sedentary men. However, when the HPA axis is repeatedly challenged by exercise, humans demonstrate modifications in the activity of the HPA axis, suggesting an adaptive process to endurance-training. A great diversity of mechanisms is involved in this adaptation; these mechanisms act potentially at all levels in the cascade, leading to the biological effects of cortisol and decreased tissular sensitivity to glucocorticoids.


Cortisol Concentration Cortisol Response Cortisol Secretion Urinary Free Cortisol Sedentary Subject 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EndocrinologyCHU Haut-LévêquePessacFrance

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