Exercise and Sperm Health

Exercise and Sperm Health

We all understand that exercise is great for our physical health. People who exercise are more likely to live longer and healthier lives. Regular aerobic exercise, such as jogging, swimming, rowing, and running have been linked to a long list of physical and mental benefits. Additionally, physical activity helps to fight against chronic illnesses, to include heart disease and diabetes. 

But did you know exercise can also impact sperm health and fertility? 

Research Indicates Moderate Exercise Improves Sperm Health

Dr. Yi-Xin Wang of Tongji Medical College of Huazshong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China, alongside the scientists of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, conducted a Human Reproduction study that analyzed hundreds of sperm samples to determine the impact of moderate exercise on a man’s sperm health. Chosen participants were previously qualified as sperm donors based on their overall health and semen quality. While the participants of the study all exhibited healthy sperm levels, the men who engaged in greater levels of physical exercise every week exhibited healthier sperm motility compared to those who did not engage in regular moderate physical activity. 

Sperm motility refers to the ability of the sperm to move swiftly and efficiently toward their destination (i.e., the egg). Healthy sperm motility is designated as sperm with forward movement of at least 25 micrometers per second. Poor sperm mobility, also called asthenospermia or asthenozoospermia, is one of the leading causes of male infertility. And while Dr. Yi-Xin Wang’s study found that regular exercise can improve semen motility within healthy, non-infertile men, he also noted that it is hard to tell which type of exercises and frequency are required for optimal fertility.

Sperm Health and Intense Exercise

While research has determined that men who exercise for 1 hour, at least three times per week, can experience increases in their sperm count and motility, some types of physical activity have proven to have an adverse impact on sperm health. For example, a study conducted in the United States found that cycling for ≥5 hours per week was associated with reductions in sperm count and motility. In another study that examined semen samples from 231 men referred for infertility treatment pointed to similar findings. In that particular study, men who reported cycling for 1.5 hours or more per week had sperm concentrations that were 34% lower than those of men who did not ride bicycles.

Additionally, a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), found that individuals who ran an average distance of 108 km/week, over the course of 12 months, experienced a reduction in several semen parameters, including sperm concentration, morphology, and motility. While the semen profiles of runners who covered only 40 to 56 km/week for a year were not impacted. 

Sperm Testing with Legacy

Diagnosing the root cause or conditions of a couple’s infertility is one of the most important steps on the path to implementing an effective fertility treatment plan. Fertility testing is conducted when a couple experiences prolonged difficulty conceiving a child. Fertility testing frequently starts with the female partner. However, it’s equally important for the male partner to be tested, as males are found to be responsible for 20-30% of infertility cases.

Using the latest advances and innovations in scientific technology, Legacy helps men test their sperm within the privacy and comfort of their homes. With several fertility testing packages to choose from, we make it easy and convenient to test and store your semen sample for analysis. Best of all you’ll receive your in-depth, 6 page Legacy Fertility Report in as little as 48 hours from receiving your sample. 

 Contact a member of the Legacy fertility team to schedule your free consultation.