When men get regular exercise the motility of their sperm increases - compared to men who exercise lightly - according to a Japanese study presented at the 2011 ASRM annual meeting. Sperm must be highly motile to swim vigorously through the female reproductive tract towards an egg, motility is critical to fertility. Poor sperm motility can eventuate the need for IUI (intra-uterine insemination) or IVF/ICSI to enable a sperm to successfully meet and penetrate the egg.
This study of two hundred and fifteen men assessed semen samples and exercise levels as: light, moderate or strenuous. It was discovered that the men with 'moderate exercise intensity' had the highest sperm motility levels. This moderately exercising group had fewer men with less than forty percent motility (14.3%). Men who exercised 'lightly' had double the number of men (31%) with low sperm motility (below 40% motility), similarly the group that exercised 'strenuously' also had a higher number of men with poor sperm motility sperm (27%).
The moderate-exercise group had the highest average sperm motility and the fewest men with less than 40 percent sperm motility (14.3 percent), while 31 percent of those in the light-exercise group and 27 percent of those in the strenuous-exercise group had less than 40 percent sperm motility. The president of the ASRM (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) - Dolores Lamb -stated in a press release that:
"Exercise is a component of an overall healthy lifestyle which contributes to reproductive health. This study, which uses frequency, intensity and duration to quantify the amount of exercise a subject gets, shows that a moderate exercise routine may be recommended to modestly improve semen parameters in men with no known conditions that impair their reproductive capacity..."
Both inactivity - which often involves excessive sitting - and strenuous activity can significantly increase heat in the testes which maybe one of the reasons why inactive men and vigorously exercising men both have lower levels of sperm motility in this study. If you have low sperm motility adopting a regular moderate exercise program may be able to help increase your chances of conceiving especially if you apply the many nutritional strategies proven to help improve sperm motility.
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American Society for Reproductive Medicine, news release, Oct. 19, 2011