Exercise and Male Fertility: What’s The Connection?
When It’s Time To Man Up
One of the most common conversations I have with my patients has to do with the difficulty in getting their partners pregnant. Many men assume that when a pregnancy doesn’t occur, it’s because of a problem with their wife or girlfriend’s reproductive system. Other men do research and find out that in one in five cases of infertility, the problem is entirely with the male. These men often come into my office asking about male infertility issues such as sperm disorders, hormone imbalances or, if they’re over 40, age-related infertility.
My hat’s off to these guys, because an early fertility evaluation can spare themselves and their partners a lot of unnecessary discomfort and expense. It’s also a good way to quickly narrow down or rule out potential problems by testing for conditions like azoospermia (no sperm), oligospermia (not enough sperm), sperm motility (how well the sperm move) and sperm morphology (sperm shape). Your urologist can also check for other erection and ejaculation disorders, including blockages, infections, diseases, hormonal imbalances, varicoceles (varicose veins in the scrotum) and more.
Exercise and Male Fertility: A Simple Way To Boost Sperm Count
But in some cases, the problem is much simpler: lack of exercise. A lot of guys get so caught up in looking for a complex medical answer that they overlook a basic fact: Moderate exercise can boost your sperm count and heighten your sex drive.
So what does “moderate exercise” mean? A recent test was conducted to answer that question. A group of 261 men were split into four programs:
- No exercise
- Three sessions a week of high-intensity interval training (10 one-minute bursts of very fast running, with a short recovery time between each burst)
- Three sessions a week of moderate exercise (30 minutes on a treadmill)
- Three sessions a week of intense exercise (about an hour on a treadmill)
The result was that all three exercise groups lost weight and achieved higher sperm test results. The men that engaged in moderate exercise achieved the biggest boost in sperm quality and quantity. The guys who didn’t exercise didn’t experience any changes in weight or sperm health.
Generally speaking, if you’re able to burn off some excess weight by working up a good sweat and exercising for up to an hour a day, you may improve your fertility. At the same time, you may lengthen your lifespan, improve your self-image, increase your desire for sex, and experience many of the other benefits of exercise, from sleeping better to lower stress to a reduced risk of erectile dysfunction.
A Lot Of Potential Factors
Men who are looking to become fathers may also want to take a fresh look at the whole range of behavior-related issues that can lead to male infertility. These include obesity, stress, illegal drug use, drinking too much alcohol, exposure to toxic chemicals, too-tight clothing, and even exercising too much.
If you think this sounds like there are a lot of possible factors, you’re right. And these are only the most common ones. By seeing a urologist, you can check your health, review your behavioral choices and come up with a plan that will increase your chances of getting your partner pregnant. And if that doesn’t work, you can move on to discuss assisted reproduction techniques.