According to research published in the scholarly journal Fertility and Sterility in September 2013, certain types of exercise can significantly enhance the concentration of sperm in semen. This can boost male fertility and increase the odds of conception for couples interested in starting a family. Austin male infertility specialist Dr. Parviz Kavoussi offers added insights into the implications of this research study.
Sperm Facts and Factors in Male Fertility
The 2013 study focused primarily on the effects of exercise on sperm concentration. Sperm concentration is only one of several factors that can have a significant impact on overall fertility:
• Motility is a measure of the ability of sperm to move and propel themselves toward the egg, an essential step in the fertilization process. If sperm motility is too low, in vitro fertilization techniques may be required to ensure fertilization and to aid conception.
• Morphology is a scientific term used to describe the overall health and viability of sperm. A larger percentage of abnormally shaped sperm may reduce the ability of couples to conceive normally.
These and other factors can play a significant role in the ability of couples to conceive a child.
All Types of Exercise Provide Benefits
Another study published in February 2017 in Reproduction compared three groups of men who were asked to engage in vigorous exercise with a control group that did not exercise at all. The results indicated that men who exercised for 25 to 30 minutes three to four days each week achieved the most significant improvements in motility, morphology and sperm concentrations when compared with the no-exercise control group. The positive results of exercise were seen across all the groups that participated in these activities. When the exercise regimen was discontinued, however, sperm quality generally dropped to its pre-study levels.
Not All Exercises Are Created Equal
The 2013 research study found that weightlifting and vigorous outdoor activity had the most positive effect on sperm count among the 137 men involved in the study. A report presented by CBS News expanded on these results by noting that weightlifting has been linked with higher testosterone levels, which may be in part responsible for the increase in sperm counts among men who participated in this activity.
These research studies and new sperm facts may offer new hope for men struggling with issues of infertility. Dr. Kavoussi notes that any exercise regimen should only be undertaken with the supervision and approval of a physician. By incorporating physical activities and weightlifting into a comprehensive exercise program, however, some men may achieve a higher chance of conceiving a healthy child with their partners.