Investigators have been busy studying the effect of different exercise regimens on sperm quality, and recently published their results in the journal Reproduction.
Poor sperm quality can diminish a couple's ability to conceive, and though these couples can be helped using in vitro fertilization, poor sperm quality raises the likelihood of birth defects, miscarriage, and childhood cancer.
To improve sperm quality, men are frequently advised to eat a nutritious diet, limit alcohol consumption, stop smoking, and to exercise regularly. Though getting exercise is considered important, earlier evidence of its influence on sperm quality has been contradictory.
To explore the exercise and sperm quality issue, a group of researchers split 261 men, aged 25 to 40, into four groups. Group one was assigned to run on a treadmill 25 to 30 minutes, three to four days weekly. Group two ran on a treadmill for 50 minutes to an hour, three to four days weekly. Group three alternated one-minute intervals of treadmill sprinting with one-minute recovery periods, repeated 10 to 15 times. Group four did not exercise.
Prior to the study, none of the participants followed a regular workout routine, or exercised above 25 minutes more than three days weekly. Their semen samples were analyzed before, during, and after the 24 week research period to determine the count, movement, size, shape, inflammatory markers, and oxidative stress response of their sperm.
Compared to the non-exercisers, all the active participants showed improved sperm quality in each of the measured areas. However, those with the most improvement were in group one, running a continuous 25 to 30 minutes, three to four days each week.
Although the sperm improvements were significant they were also temporary, some measures dropping back to pre-training levels just a week after the workout regimens ended.
“Our results show that doing exercise can be a simple, cheap, and effective strategy for improving sperm quality in sedentary men. However...infertility problems can be complex and changing lifestyles might not solve these cases easily,” said Behzad Hajizadeh Maleki, the study’s lead author.
Source: Medical News Today
Photo credit: E’Lisa Campbell