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Can Exercise Improve The Quality Of Sperms?

June 1st, 2017

Can Exercise Improve The Quality Of Sperms?

Can Exercise Improve The Quality Of Sperms?

A latest research published in the peer-reviewed journal, Reproduction explored the effects of different exercise regimens on the sperm quality. The findings of the study suggest that the hard work of a few months can pay off significantly well in terms of sperm quality.

According to latest statistics, roughly one in every three couples find it difficult to conceive due to poor quality of the semen. Such couples usually opt for IVF (in-vitro fertilization) technique to overcome this issue. Poor quality of semen not only makes it difficult to conceive but can also cause childhood cancer, birth defects and even miscarriage.

Therefore, it is advisable to consider natural approaches to help improve the sperm quality. Among many others, the basic few approaches include:

  • Minimizing alcohol consumption
  • Consuming a healthy diet
  • Quitting or avoiding smoking
  • Exercising on regular terms

Does Exercise Or Physical Activity Boost Sperm Health?

Even when it seems the perfect equation to a healthy balanced life, the effect of exercise on sperm quality is still under heated debate. Some studies have revealed that long distance run, endurance cycle and other intense exercises deteriorates the quality of sperm. Whereas other studies suggest that there are certain exercise regimes that boost the sperm quality.

A group of scientists from an Iranian University studied the impact of exercise intensity on the quality of sperm. The study was based on 261 healthy men who were between 25-40 years of age. These healthy individuals were divided into four groups based on the exercising intensity:

  • What Are The Worst Sperm Killers? imageModerate intensity continuous training (MICT): It involved running 25-30 minutes on a treadmill, 3-4 days every week.
  • High intensity continuous training (HICT): This involved running 50-60 minutes on a treadmill, 3-4 days every week.
  • High intensity interval training (HIIT): This involved 10-15 sets of 1 minute treadmill sprinting bursts followed by 1 minute recovery.
  • Control group: This involved no exercise at all.

Each group practiced its routine for 24 weeks. Semen samples of the participants were examined prior to the exercise, during the exercise and after the session ended for the assessment of the following parameters of sperm:

  • Count
  • Motility
  • Morphology
  • Inflammatory markers
  • Response to stress induced by oxidation (particularly to reactive species of oxygen)

Under normal circumstances, the reactive species of oxygen are important for the reproduction however if their level exceeds the control limit, they can adversely influence the overall sperm quality.

Following Were The Findings Of The Study

The three exercising groups exhibited improved quality of sperm on all levels when compared to the control group. Out of the three exercising groups, MICT showed the most prominent results:

  • 8.3% greater semen volume
  • 12.4% greater sperm motility
  • 17.1% enhanced sperm morphology
  • 14.1% more concentrated sperm
  • 21.8% greater sperm count

Even when the results were found to be promising, they weren’t long-term. With dropping off of the exercise regimen, the motility of sperm went down to its previous level after 30 days. The authors of the study speculated that the improvement in sperm quality might have been a result of weight loss due to exercising.


  • Denham, J., O’Brien, B. J., Harvey, J. T., & Charchar, F. J. (2015). Genome-wide sperm DNA methylation changes after 3 months of exercise training in humans.
  • Eisenberg, M. L., Kim, S., Chen, Z., Sundaram, R., Schisterman, E. F., Louis, B., & Germaine, M. (2014). The relationship between male BMI and waist circumference on semen quality: data from the LIFE study. Human reproduction, 29(2), 193-200.

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