Most sperm improvement guides encourage men to be physically active. So, the question is: how does exercise impact sperm health?
Interestingly, the studies have been inconsistent. If you look at the literature available, you might find that exercise and sperm health do not show a linear curve. Some physical practices improve sperm quality, while others decline it.
This article will explore the relationship between exercise and sperm health and help to eliminate this confusion.
Why is Exercise And Sperm Health Interlinked?
Physical activity has significant effects on your body. When you opt for an active lifestyle, your body undergoes physiological changes. These alterations are hormonal as well as metabolic — both of which influence the formation of sperm.
Exercise also determines your body weight and can help to prevent obesity. Increased body fat reduces sperm count and quality, and exercise is a tool that many use to help keep their bodyweight at healthy levels.
Is Exercise Beneficial For Sperm Health?
Yes, but only if done in moderation. The general idea is that physical activity improves sperm concentration, semen volume, sperm motility, and proportion of spermatozoa with correct structural alignment. Then why is there a special mention of the term “moderation”?
First, you need to know the mechanism of exercise and sperm improvement.
#1 Exercise Increases Testosterone Levels
Testosterone plays a role in the maturation of sperm cells and their overall quality. Exercise, especially weight lifting, increases testosterone levels in your body.
Testosterone also acts on the germ cells in your testes and pushes them to make sperm. So, exercise signals your brain to flood your body with testosterone. As a result, you experience a strong spurt in spermatogenesis and a boost in sperm quality.
#2 Exercise Enhances Blood Flow And Oxygenation
Aerobic exercises promote oxygenation of your brain and other tissues. Cardio workouts also make your heart pump faster. This results in a healthy blood provision to the penis and testes.
When your body has adequate oxygen and blood supply, it is well-nourished. A liberal oxygen supply also ensures that toxins flush out of your blood. These positive changes in the body speed up sperm production and lessen DNA damage. In the process, your sperm quality improves.
#3 It Cuts Down Your Sitting Time
Exercising is an active activity that may help to limit your time doing sedentary activities like watching TV. This is important because studies have found that watching TV for long hours can be detrimental to sperm health.
The semen analysis reports of men who indulge in 5 hours of watching TV per day show poor sperm quality — specifically around sperm count and motility.
The reason for this is probably due to a rise in the temperature of the scrotal area while sitting.
Why Moderation In Exercise Is Significant?
It is important not to get carried away with your exercise routine. Balance is the key. Excessive workouts and certain sports can actually reduce sperm health. Below are some examples:
- Long Distance Running: The research shows that marathon runners or athletes who run more than 40–56 km per week have low sperm quality. This because running long distances pushes the boundaries of your body. It increases stress hormone (cortisol), which counters the function of testosterone.
- Mountain Biking: Some active sports like mountain biking cause minor genital traumas. A survey shows that 18% of Americans report facing genital injuries at some point in their sports career. Repeated minor trauma might not manifest itself physically, but it has the potential of impairing spermatogenesis.
- Aggressive Sports: Some small studies also prove that aggressive sports are likely to cause minor injuries to the prostate. As the prostate is present in proximity to testes, it is understandable. The prostate contributes to semen production. So, the effects of sports on its health can alter semen volume in the long run.
How Can I Check My Sperm Quality After Exercise?
If you have incorporated exercise in your life, you can check your fertility changes by taking a semen analysis test.
An in-home semen analysis kit allows you to keep up with regular sperm health checking without getting an appointment at the clinic.
For affordable at home sperm testing, you can check out the Dadi Kit at dadikit.com.
This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Dadi Inc. makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained herein, and such information is subject to change without notice. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this web site or article with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician.
- Jóźków, Paweł, and Marco Rossato. “The Impact of Intense Exercise on Semen Quality.” American journal of men’s health vol. 11,3 (2017): 654–662.
- Lalinde-Acevedo, Paula C et al. “Physically Active Men Show Better Semen Parameters than Their Sedentary Counterparts.” International journal of fertility & sterility vol. 11,3 (2017): 156–165.
- óźków P, Mędraś M, Lwow F, Zagrodna A, Słowińska-Lisowska M. Associations between physical activity and semen quality in young healthy men. Fertil Steril. 2017 Feb;107(2):373–378.e2.
- Arce JC, De Souza MJ. Exercise and male factor infertility. Sports Med. 1993 Mar;15(3):146–69.