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Moderate and Continuous Exercise Regimen may Boost Sperm Quality
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Moderate and Continuous Exercise Regimen may Boost Sperm Quality

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Highlights
  • Sperm quality improves with moderate exercise regimen
  • Exercise like cycling, jogging, running, walking and rowing 3 to 5 times a week for 6 months improves sperm count and quality
  • Exercise a simple, cheap and effective strategy to improve sperm quality in sedentary men

Exercise is the new mantra for better quality sperms. Recent research indicates that men who engage in moderate and continuous exercise are more likely to have more sperms in their ejaculate, higher semen volume, better sperm motility, improved sperm cell shape/morphology, more concentrated sperm and more sperm cells on average, when compared to the no exercise group. 

Study

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In the study published in the journal Reproduction the researchers included 261 healthy men aged between 25 and 40 years old. Each participant was assigned to one of four groups: moderate intensity continuous training (MICT), high intensity continuous training (HICT), high intensity interval training (HIIT), or a control group that did no exercise. After completing the 24-week programme, the moderate exercise group showed the biggest improvements in sperm quality and also maintained the benefits for longer. 

Compared to no exercise group those in moderate intensity group had 8.3% more semen volume, 12.4% higher sperm motility, 17.1% improved sperm cell shape, 14.1% more concentrated sperm and 21.8% more sperm cells on average.
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"Our results show that doing exercise can be a simple, cheap and effective strategy for improving sperm quality in sedentary men," said lead author Behzad Hajizadeh Maleki from the Urmia University in Iran. "However, it's important to acknowledge that the reason some men cannot have children is not just based on their sperm count. Male infertility problems can be complex and changing lifestyles might not solve these cases easily," Maleki added. 

Why Exercise Improves Sperm Quality?

Exercise improves markers of oxidative stress that occurs with sedentary or unhealthy lifestyle or most commonly with smoking and this can the damage sperms.

The research team said: "The present study adds to this body of evidence and shows seminal markers of inflammation and oxidative stress improved significantly after 24 weeks of MICT, HICT or HIIT, and these changes correspond with favourable improvements in semen quality parameters and sperm DNA integrity." They further added that "These results further indicate that MICT was more beneficial in improving markers of male reproductive function, compared to HICT and HIIT. These observations suggest that the intensity, duration and type of exercise training could be taken into consideration when investigating reproductive responses to exercise training in men." The researchers also interestingly found that the benefits for sperm started to tail off within just a week of stopping the exercise programme.

Expert Speaks Dr.S.Shroff, Consultant Urologist from Chennai said that, "We must also remember that men who train very hard may have poor sperm quality, hence this study has for the first time shown that it is moderate exercise that gives boost to helps the sperm quality."

The current guidelines for exercise recommends that adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week. These aerobic exercise can include fast walking, cycling or swimming.

He further added that men should in addition follow the following to boost their sperm count -
  • Stop smoking
  • Wear loose underwear
  • Avoid hot baths
  • Stay fit and keep your weight optimum
  • Go easy on alcohol
Currently it is estimated that almost 15% of couples experience infertility. In 25% the cause of such infertility can be attributed to male factors. Men should be the first to be investigated when a couple presents to the clinic with infertility problem and a simple sperm count can reveal the problem in most men.

The study was published in the journal Reproduction.

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