A recent study published in the December 2016 journal Reproduction showed that moderate exercise improves sperm number and quality. By exercising three times a week sperm quality improved; the improvement with moderate exercise was even more then intense exercise regimens.
Many men seen in my office ask how they can improve their sperm count and quality; clearly stopping smoking has been shown to improve these parameters; now moderate exercise has been shown to improve sperm numbers and quality.
261 men who did little exercise were enrolled in the study. The men were divided into three exercise regimes of differing intensity: moderate continuous intensity, high continuous intensity, high-intensity interval training exercise; there was also a control group that did no exercise.
Moderate continuous intensity involved running on a treadmill for 30 minutes 3-4 days per week and high continuous intensity exercises involved running on a treadmill for one hour 3-4 days per week. High-intensity interval exercise involved one-minute bursts of sprinting, followed by a one-minute recovery period 10–15 times per day.
The men’s semen analysis parameters were followed for 24 weeks during the exercise regimen and then 4 weeks after stopping exercising. The researchers looked at semen sperm count, size and motility, as well as for markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. All the men who exercised had improvement in sperm quantity and quality and improvement of markers of inflammation and oxidative stress. The men in the moderate intensity training program showed the most improvement – 8.3 percent increase in sperm volume, 12.4 percent increase in motility, and 17.1 percent improvement in sperm morphology(normal looking sperm)
In all groups except the moderate exercise group, all parameters returned to their pre-exercise levels within 1-4 weeks of stopping exercising; only the moderate exercise group remained improved for up to 30 days after the training program stopped.
Men in the three exercise groups all lost weight which may have been a part of the sperm improvement. The authors believe moderate intensity exercise may have been the most effective as it reduced the exposure of sperm to oxidative stress and inflammation.
The lead study author,’Behzad Maleki concluded that “doing exercise can be a simple, cheap and effective strategy for improving sperm quality in sedentary men.”
Reproducion, December 2016:The effects of three different exercise modalities on markers of male reproduction in healthy subjects: a randomized controlled trial
1. Behzad Hajizadeh Maleki<http://www.reproduction-online.org/search?author1=Behzad+Hajizadeh+Maleki&sortspec=date&submit=Submit>1<http://www.reproduction-online.org/content/153/2/157#aff-1>⇑<http://www.reproduction-online.org/content/153/2/157#corresp-1>