During exercise, your body releases various hormones essential for cellular function. It’s vital to mention that hormones have a hand in many biological matters, such as tissue growth, synthesis of muscle proteins, mood, and energy. For this reason, they play a vital role in weight management and muscle building. If you’re interested in either, it’s helpful to know the different hormones involved with exercise. 


Your adrenal gland produces this catabolic steroid hormone — one that affects your metabolism of carbohydrates. It also tends to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Your body will produce it in response to stress and when you exercise. It plays a role in raising blood sugar levels. 


Epinephrine is another term for adrenaline. It’s responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response during dangerous or stressful situations. The body also creates this energy-producing hormone to regulate bodily functions during cardiovascular exercise. 


Norepinephrine works with epinephrine to increase blood flow to the heart and up your heart rate. This hormone helps break down fat while increasing blood sugar levels to supply the body with more energy during exercise. 

Insulin-Like Growth Factor

Insulin-like growth factor is a peptide hormone similar in structure to insulin that’s produced by the liver. The body needs it to repair protein damage that naturally happens from exercise. Ultimately, the repairs this hormone is responsible for are necessary for muscle growth. 

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor

This hormone is the reason exercise is said to affect brain function. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor falls in the category of a neurotransmitter, and the body utilizes it for the growth of nervous system tissue. Exercise will cause a rise in this hormone, and as a result, cognitive function will improve from physical activity. 

Human Growth Hormone

Human growth hormone is a peptide hormone that stimulates growth and cellular reproduction. It’s the hormone responsible for growth in children. The pituitary gland produces it during exercise for protein synthesis, which promotes muscle growth. This hormone is necessary to the processes of bone mineralization and fat metabolism. 


The pancreas produces glucagon, which elevates glucose levels and causes free fatty acids from adipose tissue, also known as fat tissue, to release. These functions provide the body with energy for exercising. Glucagon also helps compensate for a reduction in glycogen by stimulating the liver to release its reservation of it. 


Although produced by both males and females, testosterone is commonly associated with males because it’s imperative for puberty. Males primarily produce it in the testes, while females create a small amount in the ovaries. When a person is exercising, either male or female, their bodies will produce it in the adrenal glands due to the physical stress induced by exercise. Testosterone is a major factor for muscle building for both genders. 

You may know exercise is beneficial. However, it helps to know the physiology of what happens during physical activity to better understand how it can improve your health and why.