Exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle as it helps maintain a healthy body weight and reduces the risk of various morbidities and co-morbidities. Exercise is an acute physiological stress that initiates a multitude of processes that attempt to restore physiological homeostasis and promote adaptation. A component of the stress response to exercise is the rapid release of hormones from the adrenal gland including glucocorticoids, the catecholamines and aldosterone. While each hormone targets several tissues throughout the body, skeletal muscle is of interest as it is central to physical function and various metabolic processes. Indeed, adrenal stress hormones have been shown to elicit specific performance benefits on the muscle. However, how the acute, short-lived release of these stress hormones during exercise influences adaptations of skeletal muscle to long-term training remains largely unknown. Thus, the objective of this review was to briefly highlight the known impact of adrenal stress hormones on skeletal muscle metabolism and function (Old Dog), and critically examine the current evidence supporting a role for these endogenous hormones in mediating long-term training adaptations in skeletal muscle (New Tricks).
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