Pushing the Limit: How Intense Workouts Turbocharge Your Cortisol Levels

For athletes who engage in intensive training, elevated cortisol can be a problem. A study sought to provide some insights into how different exercise intensities impact cortisol response. Twelve active, moderately trained men performed exercises at 60% and 80% of their maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), and their cortisol levels were assessed before and after each session. The study found that both 60% and 80% intensity exercises significantly increased cortisol levels. Therefore, the study suggests that moderate to high-intensity exercise can stimulate an activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and an increase in cortisol levels. These findings are important for athletes to consider, especially those engaged in high-intensity training, for effective management of their cortisol levels. [PMID: 18787373]

About the Author

Stephanie Figon, MS, RDN, LD

Founder of NutriScape.NET. As a dietitian since 1992, Steph Figon has had experiences in consulting, 15 years in clinical, and has operated a private practice nutrition counseling office for since 2011. Connect on Linkedin