Men who exercise regularly have higher sperm counts than men who spend hours in front of the television, according to a new study.
Men who exercise have higher sperm counts than those who spent hours watching TV
Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health looked at the lifestyle of 189 male students, between the ages of 18 and 22, at a New York University.
The students recorded how many hours a week they spent doing physical activity, like football or basketball, and how many hours they spent watching TV. They also provided a sperm sample which was analysed in the lab.
Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the researchers found that the students who were the most physically active had sperm counts which were 73% higher than those who did the least exercise. The most physically active men carried out 15 hours or more of moderate to vigorous exercise each week.
At the same time, the men who spent more than 20 hours a week in front of the television had a sperm count 44% lower than those who spent the least amount of time watching TV.
The researchers concluded that 20 hours of television time in a week is detrimental to sperm count, whilst 15 hours of physical activity in a week boosts the quality of sperm. Sperm motility and shape were unaffected in the study.
Reasons for the findings are unclear, but it is speculated that sitting in front of the television raises the temperature of the scrotum- sperm prefer cooler conditions.
The study authors say that men who want to improve their fertility could try increasing the amount of time they spend doing physical activity. Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield, said:
"My advice would be everything in moderation - and that includes time in the gym as well as watching TV."
However, men wanting to conceive may want to be selective about their chosen sport, because previous studies have found that too much long-distance running or cycling in tight clothing actually hinders sperm count.
Now, more research needs to be done to find out more about the link between exercise and sperm count. Dr Pacey said: "It remains to be seen if coaxing a TV-watching couch potato into doing some regular exercise could actually improve his sperm count.”
Some private medical insurance policies offer discounted gym membership to their customers to encourage them to be more physically active. Compare health insurance quotes online for more information.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013