Testosterone is the primary chemical that defines masculinity and manliness. It builds muscle, deepens the voice, enhances overall virility, and makes men really angry and violent at times. But what triggers testosterone? Scientists have been seeking that out in recent years, to determine the differences between men in all parts of the world, particularly those in developing countries. Recently, a study suggests an old trade produces the most testosterone, and thus the most manliness: Chopping wood.
Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara examined a tribe in central Bolivia, the Tsimane, to examine what activities directly affected men's testosterone levels. The men competed in various sports, and conducted different day-to-day activities and exercises. The Tsimane, as a foraging culture, still rely heavily on chopping wood to create cooking and heating fires, and thus the activity was studied as well. After a thorough analysis, scientists concluded that the testosterone increase from chopping wood far exceeded any activity, with an increase of nearly 47%. The increase from chopping wood exceeded the next highest testosterone boost, playing soccer, by a full 17%.
Why the huge increase in testosterone? Quite simply, the activity is very vigorous, and requires a significant and efficient use of blood sugar and testosterone to maintain stamina and strength. Consequently, by chopping wood harder and longer, testosterone continues to build up and retain itself throughout the day.
The study, "Age-independent increases in male salivary testosterone during horticultural activity among Tsimane forager-farmers," was published online recently in Evolution and Human Behavior. Scientists in the study suggest that the testosterone boosts would also help women in their development and daily work as well. Of course, there are other alternatives to wood chopping to build testosterone, like weight-lifting, but the affirmation that chopping wood and lumberjacking can be so manly is inspiring. Still, don't tell that to some Canadian lumberjacks: