Men do not have an abrupt finish to the production of sex steroid hormones, as found in women reaching the menopause. Nevertheless, there is a gradual decline in testosterone with increasing age, from middle age onwards.
Testosterone is an important hormone, driving adaptations to exercise such as maintaining haemoglobin levels and optimal body composition. So decreasing levels can potentially impact athletic performance in age-group male triathletes.
However, seeking out testosterone medication is a big no no, as it’s a banned substance under WADA jurisdiction. Instead, being proactive in terms of athlete behaviours is the best approach. This might include ensuring adequate fuelling, especially around training sessions to maintain consistent levels of energy to support healthy hormones.
Strength and conditioning, in particular resistance training, is also important to maintain optimal body composition as we get older. And not to be overlooked is adequate rest and recovery between training sessions, with sleep
being the key time for the release of growth hormones to back up adaptive responses to training.
Dr Nicky Keay is honorary research fellow in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Durham, and chief medical officer for www.forthedge.co.uk