Moderate exercise may improve the quality of sperm, according to a new University of Cordoba study. Although previous studies found that exercising too hard can impair sperm quality, exercising at a moderate pace may result better sperm production and quality.
Male infertility can be a result of low sperm production, and there are several lifestyle choices that may result in male unexplained infertility. For example, bicycling, wearing tight underpants/jeans or drug and alcohol use has been found to negatively affect sperm quality. With that in mind, researchers from University of Cordoba were interested if certain positive healthy lifestyle choices would improve sperm quality.
The researchers collected sperm and blood from 31 men - 16 of whom had maintained a moderate exercise regiment for the past year and 15 whom were categorized as inactive. Moderate exercise is physical activity that involves a medium amount of energy and effort, such as walking, swimming, or participating in sports for approximately 30 minutes per day, 4 to 5 days per week.
The sperm was evaluated in accordance with the World Health Organization's (WHO) defined factors that affect sperm quality, which are sperm count, sperm volume, sperm morphology, and motility - all factors that make sperm stronger, healthier, and faster. For the blood samples the sex hormones FSH (critical for production of sperm), LH (increases testosterone secretion), and testosterone, as well as cortisol (a stress hormone linked to sperm count), were measured.
Results from the study indicated that better sperm quality and hormone levels were asscoiated with those who engaged in moderate exercise. Physically active men had faster sperm and a higher percentage of sperm that could be classified as normal. In addition, those men had higher sperm concentration and volume. Higher levels of all sex hormones were higher in men who were active, and cortisol levels were lower.
According to the Center for Disease Control the benefits of regular physical activity include reducing the risk of dying prematurely or from heart disease, developing diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer. In addition, it helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, and of course assists in weight loss. Exercise is good for the mind as well as body, as it can promote psychological wellbeing, and reduce depression and anxiety.
Any inactive person, male or female, can usually improve his or her health and wellbeing by becoming moderately active on a regular basis - and now according to this study, it can increase a couple's chances of successful conception as well.