According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, difficulty conceiving is the result of infertility in approximately one-third of men. But a new study shows exercise could make sperm quality better; improving a man’s reproductive health.
Research from the University of Cordoba suggests men who stay active have a better chance a reproduction than men who are sedentary. One of the reasons might be because exercise makes for a friendlier environment for sperm to form and develop to its fullest potential.
The finding is important because sperm quality has dropped over the last 50 years, according to background information from the study. Declining reproductive health, has been blamed in part for increased tobacco use, higher exposure to toxins and alcohol consumption.
Investigators for the study wanted to see what impact exercise had on male fertility, so they recruited men who were sedentary to compare their sperm to active men.
Diana Vaamonde, a researcher at the University of Cordoba and lead author of the study said in a press release, “We have analysed qualitative semen parameters like the ejaculated volume, sperm count, mobility and sperm morphology.”
For the study the men were also tested for hormone levels that included follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone (T), cortisol (C) and the T/C ratio that the researchers explain provides a better picture of the environment needed for sperm creation, in addition to giving a picture of the general health of the 31 men included in the study.
The results showed men who exercise more had faster swimming sperm that was more perfectly formed, compared to their sedentary counterparts. Exercising appears to create a more favorable environment for sperm creation that comes from healthy hormone levels.
The good news is the researchers say it only takes moderate exercise to keep your sperm in good shape. A previous study from Vaamonde that was published in 2010 found super athletes have poor quality semen, perhaps from strain that comes from intensive training.
The finding is published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.
According to the CDC, it’s possible to change a man’s sperm with healthy lifestyle changes. The new study suggests getting a bit more active might be added to the list of interventions that could boost semen quality to produce better sperm, though more studies are needed.