Women’s Hormones and Running – Guest Post by Jason Karp, Ph.D.

Great article; must read for women.

Uber Mother Runner

Women’s Hormones and Running

Jason Karp, Ph.D.

While a man’s hormonal environment is pretty stable, a woman’s hormonal environment is constantly changing. The physiological changes resulting from menstrual cycle-induced fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone are exacerbated during exercise, especially if it’s intense.

Body Temperature

Body temperature changes rhythmically throughout the menstrual cycle, peaking during the luteal phase in response to the surge in progesterone. Progesterone acts on the brain’s hypothalamus (the temperature control center), which increases set-point temperature. A higher body temperature increases the threshold for dissipation of heat. In other words, a woman’s body must reach a higher temperature before her thermostat compensates and begins to cool itself. Not a good thing when you’re running on a hot and humid day, as you want to begin the cooling response as soon as you can. Estrogen has the opposite effect on the hypothalamus, decreasing body temperature, which explains why body…

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