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Exercise & Sperm Health

Interestingly, exercise and sperm health do not show a linear curve. Some physical practices improve sperm quality, while others decline it.

However, every sperm improvement guide includes an exercise regimen and encourages men to be physically active. So, the question is: what should you do?

This article will explore the relationship between exercise and sperm health to help to eliminate this confusion.

  1. Why Are Exercise And Sperm Health Inter-linked?
  2. Is Exercise Beneficial For Sperm Health?
  3. Why Is Moderation In Exercise Significant?
  4. Which Exercises Should You Avoid?
  5. How Can I Check My Sperm Quality After Exercise?
  6. What Is The Way Out For Exercise Enthusiasts?

Why Are Exercise And Sperm Health Inter-linked?

Physical activity has significant effects on your body. When you opt for an active lifestyle, your body undergoes physiological changes. These alterations are hormonal as well as metabolic. As these two processes also govern the formation of sperm (spermatogenesis), their influence is evident.

Exercise also determines your body weight and prevents obesity. Increased body fat reduces sperm count and quality. It may be due to a rise in the temperature of the testes by scrotal fats pad or hormonal changes. Exercise allows you to avoid it and take charge of your sperm formation and health.

Is Exercise Beneficial For Sperm Health?

Yes, but only if done in moderation. The general idea is that physical activity improves sperm concentration, semen volume, sperm motility, and proportion of spermatozoa with correct structural morphology. Then why is there a special mention of the term “moderation”?

First, you need to know the mechanism of exercise and sperm improvement.

#1 It Increases Testosterone Levels In The Body

Your sperm production happens in the testes, but it needs testosterone hormone. You must have noticed that bodybuilding is often associated with masculinity. It is partially a marketing stunt but also carries some ounce of truth.

Exercise, especially weight lifting, increases testosterone levels in your body. Since this hormone controls the male sexual organ development, it has led to this assumption. Testosterone also acts on the germ cells in your testes and pushes them to make sperm. It plays a role in the maturation of sperm cells and their overall quality.

So, exercise signals your brain to flood your body with testosterone. As a result, you experience a strong spurt in spermatogenesis and a boost in sperm quality.

#2 It Enhances Blood Flow And Oxygenates Your Body

Aerobic exercises promote oxygenation of your brain and other tissues. Cardio workouts also make your heart pump faster. Those thumping beats you experience during gym sessions manifest your heart working efficiently. It results in a healthy blood provision to the penis and testes.

When your body has adequate oxygen and blood supply, it is well-nourished.

A liberal oxygen supply also ensures that toxins flush out of your blood.

These positive changes in the body speed up sperm production and lessen DNA damage. In the process, your sperm quality improves.

#3 It Cuts Down Your Sitting Time

Exercising makes you proactive and helps to limit sedentary time. It is important because studies have found that watching TV for long hours is detrimental to sperm health.

The semen analysis reports of men who indulge in 5 hours of watching TV per day show poor sperm quality. Studies conclude that it is detrimental to sperm count and motility.

It is probably due to a rise in the temperature of the scrotal area. A sedentary lifestyle also sets a stage for higher body mass index and challenges related to male fertility.

Why Is Moderation In Exercise Significant?

It is important not to get carried away with your exercise routine. Balance is the key. Aggressive workouts and sports can reduce sperm health. The reasons are listed below:

  • The research shows that marathon runners or athletes who run more than 40-56 km per week have low sperm quality. It is because running long distances pushes the boundaries of your body. It increases stress hormone (cortisol), which counters the function of testosterone. So, while moderate running improves sperm parameters and semen volume, an excess can prove detrimental.
  • Some active sports like mountain biking cause minor genital traumas. A survey shows that 18% of Americans report facing genital injuries at some point in their sports career. Repeated minor trauma might not manifest itself physically, but it has the potential of impairing spermatogenesis.
  • Some small studies also prove that aggressive sports are likely to cause minor injuries to the prostate. As the prostate is present in proximity to testes, it is understandable. The prostate contributes to semen production. So, the effects of sports on its health can alter semen volume in the long run.

These factors may have minor outcomes, but collectively, they may have an impact on your fertility levels.

Which Exercises Should You Avoid?

It is not difficult to sort out your exercise regimen. You have to avoid some sports and stick to those which improve your sperm concentration and other parameters.

Evidence suggests that you should avoid the following exercises:

  • Do cycling with careful consideration. Cycling loses calories and keeps your legs moving, but it also makes you sit on a leather seat. Your scrotum tends to heat up, and sweating increases the temperature further. So, cycling more than five hours per week has the potential to reduce sperm motility and count.
  • High-intensity training for more than 2 hours per day for five days a week diminishes sperm motility and density. Alternatively, high-intensity interval training is a better choice. It has sporadic periods of intense workout between low-intensity exercises. This alternating pattern has a superior impact on sperm health as well as body weight.
  • Mountaineering is active, aggressive, and takes courage. It also takes a toll on your sperm quality because, at high altitudes, oxygen is low. It leads to low sperm count and poor progressive motility over time.
  • Avoid prolonged treadmill sessions. Your gym schedule should have a variety of workouts, with each lasting less than an hour. Adding meditation or yoga to your gym routine also alleviates stress hormone levels in your body.

How Can I Check My Sperm Quality After Exercise?

If you have incorporated exercise in your life, you can check your fertility changes by taking a semen analysis test.

An in-home semen analysis kit allows you to keep up with regular sperm health checkingwithout getting an appointment at the clinic.

What Is The Way Out For Exercise Enthusiasts?

Those who are professional marathon runners or sports people need an alternative for fertility preservation. It does not imply that they will be infertile as per se. It is about having more control over fertility. Sperm freezing gives you a chance to preserve your sperm before starting rigorous training.

It also allows gym enthusiasts and trainers to bank their sperm in their best quality. You can stop worrying about exercise and sperm health and start pushing your body with intense workouts.

  1. Jóźków, Paweł, and Marco Rossato. “The Impact of Intense Exercise on Semen Quality.” American journal of men's health vol. 11,3 (2017): 654-662.
  2. Lalinde-Acevedo, Paula C et al. “Physically Active Men Show Better Semen Parameters than Their Sedentary Counterparts.” International journal of fertility & sterility vol. 11,3 (2017): 156-165.
  3. óźków P, Mędraś M, Lwow F, Zagrodna A, Słowińska-Lisowska M. Associations between physical activity and semen quality in young healthy men. Fertil Steril. 2017 Feb;107(2):373-378.e2.
  4. Arce JC, De Souza MJ. Exercise and male factor infertility. Sports Med. 1993 Mar;15(3):146-69.

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