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Study: Wood Chopping Boosts Testosterone More than Soccer

Forget throwing a football. If you want to feel like a man, chop wood. That's at least what a new study suggests.
Forget throwing a football.  If you want to feel like a man, chop wood.  That's at least what a new study suggests.

Researchers from University of California Santa Barbara found that chopping wood increases testosterone levels more than competitive activities. 

The university tested the testosterone levels of  people in central Bolivia before and after they cut down trees.

The study  showed a 46.8 percent increase in testosterone levels following the wood cutting.. which is 17 percent higher than the testosterone increase caused by playing soccer.


Matt Reynolds with Strong Gym talked with KOLR10 News Daybreak about the role testosterone plays in health for men and women.

Shannon Miller - Is this idea something you agree with?
Matt - I think instead of looking at it as horticulture versus competition, you should look at it as intensity of exercise.  So, there are few things on earth that are more intense than chopping wood.  If anyone has ever done that, you're talking about 100% intensity, followed by some rest, then 100% intensity again.
Whereas something like soccer is going to be more aerobic based.  So lower intensity, longer duration.  So you'll see less of a testosterone increase.

Shannon - Tell us a little bit about what testosterone does for the body, in both men and women.
Matt - Testosterone in just standard levels are going to increase the overall sense of well-being.  Obviously, muscle mass.  Not things that you're going to see on a super physiological level like body builders.  But muscle mass, libido increase, overall sense of well-being - all good things.  Women have about 20 times less than men do.  So men are 20 times higher.

Shannon - And working out - how does that increase our testosterone levels? 
Matt - When you work out, the idea is to increase the testosterone levels, so the intensity level needs to be as high as possible.  There have actually been studies to show people who run marathons or really long distance -  very short, not very intense, doesn't increase testosterone.  So you want to do the opposite.  You want to do high intensity sprints, interval training, heavy weights for both guys and girls, are going to increase testosterone across the board. 

Shannon - A lot of times we'll see different body types between a runner and someone who is doing the circuit training - the shorter interval times.
Matt - Sure. You look at an Olympic athlete. Most people don't look at a marathon runner on the Olympics and say 'I want to look like that.'  They look at the sprinters and say 'Wow, that person looks amazing.'  So you look at the way they train - it's very high intensity followed by bouts of rest, followed by 100% intensity, seems to be the best way to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat.  And that's what we're going to see with the wood chopping - that sort of high intensity training.


KOLR10's Chris Smith and Justin Dougherty try to split 4 logs in 45 seconds, to check out the workout of wood chopping.  Watch the video above to see how it goes.

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