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Yoga and Human Growth Hormone

author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
Yoga and Human Growth Hormone
Your growth hormone production ramps up around 35 minutes into class. Photo Credit fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

When someone mentions human growth hormone (HGH) they're usually referring to a massive, muscular bodybuilder or a famous professional athlete, not a gentle yogi floating through different asanas. This hormone has been touted as a performance enhancer but it is something that everyone produces when they exercise, weightlifters and yogis alike. The calming nature of yoga mixed with the muscular strain of some poses creates an ideal environment for human growth hormone release in your body.

Read More: HGH Positive Effects

Role of HGH

Growth hormone is released by your pituitary gland in your brain in bursts, known as "pulses," throughout the day. This hormone helps you grow throughout childhood and maintains tissues like bone and muscle during adulthood. It also helps your immune system and contributes to the breakdown of fat.

It's known as an anabolic hormone, which means that it helps build up the tissues and organs of your body. You produce this hormone during the REM cycle of sleep or during exercise. As you age the amount of growth hormone that you produce will slowly decline.

Exercise and HGH

In general, any workout will elevate your growth hormone levels. An hour-long yoga class is the perfect amount of time to jumpstart your growth hormone production. It takes about fifteen minutes for your growth hormone production to really start kicking in during an intense workout.

A yoga session is lower intensity than something like sprinting or weightlifting, so it takes a while for growth hormone production to ramp up. After about 35 minutes of yoga, your HGH levels will be greatly increased. They can be increased anywhere from two to ten times the normal amount in your blood stream.

Growth hormone is an antagonist to insulin, which stores energy in the form of fat. When you need energy during exercise, growth hormone helps you get energy from fat. It also helps you build skeletal muscle by stimulating production of another hormone, called insulin-like growth factor.

Read More: Ways to Boost Growth Hormones

Yoga and HGH

While growth hormone is all about building your body, a different hormone named cortisol is all about tearing it down. When you're stressed out, growth hormone becomes suppressed and cortisol starts to take over. Yoga helps you increase your growth hormone and decrease your cortisol level because it's a calming activity. After de-stressing from a yoga class your hormones will start to balance, which can even help curb depression, according to a 2013 study in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry.

Yoga makes you more relaxed, which stimulates growth hormone production.
Yoga makes you more relaxed, which stimulates growth hormone production. Photo Credit miya227/iStock/Getty Images

Yoga and Sleep

Chronic stress can affect your sleep. Getting a good night's sleep is essential to healthy growth hormone production. According to a 2014 study in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, performing yoga twice per week for 12 weeks helped participants who had insomnia sleep better. Since yoga helps you sleep at night, it, in turn, helps you produce more growth hormone.

Benefits of Yoga and HGH

Adding yoga to your exercise regime will give you a growth hormone boost similar to what you might get from lifting weights or doing other types of exercise. Yoga also has the added benefit of stress relief from the focus on breathing and sometimes meditation. This stress relief further boosts growth hormone production and decreases cortisol, a hormone that can suppress your immune system and leads to obesity and diabetes.

While weightlifting and other intense forms of cardio are cornerstones of a complete fitness program, yoga is a more sustainable option to boost your growth hormone production because it is low impact and easier to recover from.

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