Plane crazy

If you didn’t know already, this site is all about providing safe and effective ways to raise natural testosterone. Whether you’re boosting for extra muscle or topping up due to age, we help map out your smoothest route from A to T.

Don’t get us wrong, the natural road still requires plenty of hard work and commitment. It just ensures we don’t push our limits too far with overtraining or dangerous chemicals. The goal is maximum reward with minimum risk.

But what if you’re the kind of person who wants higher testosterone, but likes risk? The kind who doesn’t feel they’ve earned that reward, without a generous side of risk? What can we do for you? Well, we like to accommodate everyone at HowToLiveHealthy, so…

Good news, you crazy bas#%rds! Research has found a way thrill-seekers can get a T surge and a danger high at the same time. It may be the perfect compromise.

It doesn’t involve exercising ourselves into the ground, or pumping our bodies full of god-knows-what from a lab. But it does retain that sexy outside chance of death, all while staying totally natural.

As natural as launching yourself from a plane several thousand feet in the air ever can be. That’s right, apparently skydiving can boost testosterone.

A little Birdie tells us

It’s almost the literal male hormone version of ‘Fight fire with fire.’ This Iowa University team suggest ‘Fight a big drop with a big drop.’

On one level it’s not that wild an idea. We know that higher testosterone can encourage greater risk taking, so it makes sense the link might work both ways. Then again, plummeting to earth at 122mph with your hope of surviving stuffed in a backpack is stressful.

Where there’s stress, there’s the stress hormone cortisol, famous for its T blocking ability.

The big question is then, exactly which hormone is going up as we’re going down?

The study’s lead author Elizabeth ‘Birdie’ Shirtcliff puts it like this,

“I was convinced by some stellar students to conduct this study and much of the impetus behind it is from them putting their ideas into action. They wanted to examine skydiving as a stressor and pointed out that the prior evidence was mixed about that.”

(Brave move taking research ideas from students. Look out for follow up works, ‘Go-Karting’s Effect on Testosterone’, ‘Laser Tag’s Effect on Testosterone’ and ‘Beer Pong’s Effect on Testosterone.’)

Liz Birdie continues…

“Since skydiving is thrilling, they asked if we could assay testosterone. It seemed obvious that testosterone – a hormone that is reactive to exciting and rewarding activities – would rise in response to skydiving, but the prior literature suggested the opposite.”

For the trial, 44 men and women aged 18-50 took part in a 14,000 feet skydive. Some had experience, others were doing it for the first time.

Participants gave saliva samples to test hormone levels at various stages leading up to jumping and at regular intervals afterward. They also wore a heart monitor before, during and after the even to rate stress.

What conclusion did they land on?

The results show a rise in testosterone building up to jump, which holds for a time afterward. The surge was biggest in ‘sensation seekers’

Basically, daredevils who were most up for skydiving in the first place.

Often in these studies there’s a marked difference between men and women, but both sexes saw T increase. Men reached a higher peak, but they start with much more of course. The size of the change was similar, relative to starting levels.

So what about cortisol? Was everyone on that plane suddenly too empowered by all that new T to stress? Hell no! Cortisol spiked too.

Yet far from blocking T those with the highest levels of stress hormone and fastest heart rated tended to see the largest upturn in test.

“Testosterone has gotten a bad reputation, but it isn’t about aggression or being a jerk. Testosterone helps to motivate us to achieve goals and rewards. For those who find skydiving desirable (and are willing to do it), testosterone reactivity reflects those thrilling reward”

Birdie’s theory is that, even in those who weren’t risk takers, an inbuilt stress response puts us in fight or flight mode. And since flight is what got us into this particular mess to begin with, that only leaves fight, which will require plenty more T.

“The body’s stress response also is active, helping testosterone to be more reactive and for skydiving to become even more fun and exciting. This thrill wasn’t just within sensation-seekers as that trait enhanced testosterone reactivity distinctly from the body’s stress response.”

Cortisol not all bad?

Cortisol definitely has its uses, otherwise it wouldn’t be part of our hormone balance. It’s fair to say too, based on this study, there are times when T and cortisol can co-exist.

What you have to remember though, is skydiving is a pretty unique set of circumstances.

The thrill of something like that mixed with stress causes our body to respond in ways it wouldn’t normally. There’s usually no euphoric thrill that comes from everyday pressures. But bills, work deadlines, relationship problems etc. can all still send cortisol soaring and with this hormone dominant, it will weaken T output.

The same goes if we burn ourselves out in the gym. Our system floods with cortisol, suppressing testosterone for days or sometimes weeks.

End Point (Break)

Needless to say, this method is only for true adrenaline junkies trying to up their T.

If the idea utterly terrifies you then cortisol is likely all you’re going to get, which will only hurt male hormone levels.

As our old pal Birdie Shirtcliff says,

“An important caveat is that the study was conducted on people who enjoy – and sought out – skydiving. The results should not be extrapolated to people where the thought of skydiving makes their stomach churn and palms sweat.”

There are plenty of less extreme options for the rest of us. If you crave the confidence testosterone gives, there are easier ways to get it than abseiling to that job interview.

Or if you’re having problems in the bed there’s ways we can help in ways which don’t involve jumping out a plane while your partner waits in the bedroom with the skylight window open. That’s not what’s meant by scared stiff.

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