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article imageWood chopping manlier than playing sport

By Daryl Hammond     Aug 26, 2013 in Health
For years, many have seen lumberjacks as the manliest of men; the pinnacle of masculinity. And apparently, science thinks so too.
Two anthropologists at the University of California, Santa Barbra have discovered that man will experience a larger increase in testosterone from wood chopping than partaking in sport.
The study, conducted by Benjamin Trumble and Michael Gurven, followed a tribe of Bolivian farmers known as The Tsimane people. They measured the testosterone of the farmers when chopping wood, and again whilst playing football (soccer), a competitive sport.
The results found that chopping down trees lead to a 46.8% increase in testosterone, whilst soccer only yielded an increase of 30.1%.
This served to prove that aggression and competition do not boost testosterone as much as need for survival. Lead author Benjamin Trumble said:
Past research has mostly focused on the role of testosterone in aggressive competition. Given the important of testosterone in supplying energy to muscles, we wanted to look at how testosterone changes during another vital part of Tsimane life – food production.
Food production is of great importance to the Tsimane people. Wood chopping to clear land and other physically demanding agricultural activities that provide food tends to significantly raise testosterone due to the motivation of Tsimane people to feed their family, as explained by Trumble:
If you’re a 50-year-old Tsimane man, for example, you probably have six or more children, and you need to be able to feed them. If you lose the ability to have the acute spikes in testosterone that increase your ability to chop trees – chop longer and chop harder – that would be detrimental to feeding your family.
Testosterone helps muscle take in the blood sugar obtained from food, which aids in physical performance, whether it is competitive sport or wood chopping.
It is only one of the many benefits of higher testosterone. A study conducted in 2008 showed a correlation between depression and low testosterone. Testosterone can have positive effects on both the body and the mind.
This doesn’t mean we should all don our chequered shirts and cut down the apple tree in the back garden. Although chopping wood is a great way to boost testosterone, it is not the only way.
Weightlifting, as well as a variety of other sports are great for increasing testosterone. Putting down an axe and picking up a tennis racket is still a great way to boost testosterone.
More about lumberjack, Testosterone, Sport
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