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How Does Physical Activity Affect Sperm Quality?

Physical Activity Affect Sperm Quality
Oftentimes, male infertility is commonly linked to medical conditions or environmental factors. But did you know that it can also be linked to having a sedentary lifestyle?

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), focused on a group of regular men and their daily lifestyle in terms of diet, stress, exercise, television habits, and tobacco use. Other physical activity studies focused on male athletes.

The study reported those with sedentary lifestyles that entailed watching television for more than 20 hours per week had 44% lower sperm count than males who did not watch television. In addition, active males who dedicated more than 15 hours per week to exercise programs registered a 73% higher sperm count than males who worked out less than five hours each week.

Background on Male Infertility

Male infertility risk factors have long been a contentious discussion among professionals in the fertility field. Studies have suggested that a man’s lifestyle behaviours and habits have a greater impact on a couple’s overall fertility journey than previously thought. In fact, a report in The Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences reports that nearly 50% of infertility cases are linked to “male factors” such as low concentration, motility, and abnormal structure of the sperm.

As the quality and quantity of sperm is key to successful male fertility, most infertility plans tend to focus on improving the amount of sperm produced, as well as the shape, size, and movement of the sperm.

Studies have also been conducted to analyze whether certain occupations can contribute to male infertility. Welders, construction workers, commercial truck drivers, painters, and athletes are regularly exposed to extreme temperatures, chemicals, toxic gases, and psychological factors that lead to fertility issues.

The Importance of Physical Activity for Male Reproductive Health

Physical activity is important for a man’s overall health, and fertility is no exception. Research has found that the higher a man’s body fat percentage, the more likely his body will convert testosterone to estrogen. Testosterone is vital for healthy sperm production, which is why lowering a man’s body fat percentage can improve testosterone production and improve sperm health.

One study published in the Central European Journal of Urology focused on obesity as a negative marker in fertility. Excessive weight, in addition to unhealthy lifestyle habits, causes poor sperm production in comparison to the male fertility of an average-weight male.

In another study published by the National Library of Medicine under the National Center for Biotechnology Information, similar findings were evident. It claims exercise helps to improve the quality and quantity of the sperm in cases where infertility has been linked to lack of physical activity and bad lifestyle habits.

Practical Implications and Recommendations

Given how important male fertility is when it comes to conception, more and more fertility plans are being designed with practical recommendations on how men can improve their lifestyle, particularly when it comes to physical activity. Men who are facing infertility should focus on eating nutritious sperm-friendly foods, getting enough physical activity, and addressing obesity conditions (if applicable) so they can improve their sperm production.

Moderate exercise programs such as yoga, swimming, and light jogging have been recommended to balance hormone levels and manage weight loss. It should be noted that strenuous exercise can adversely affect the production of healthy sperm due to the immune system working overtime.

Talk to a Fertility Specialist if You Are Facing Fertility Issues

At ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo, a thorough male fertility assessment and investigation is conducted to formulate a proper fertility plan for each client. We are a state-of-the-art fertility and IVF clinic specializing in fertility care, treatment, and counselling.

If you are concerned about male infertility issues, contact one of our friendly representatives at (519) 650-0011 or drop us a line at


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Kitchener, ON
N2P 2X7

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