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Exercising can Boost Sperm Count, Study Reports

Update Date: Oct 15, 2013 09:25 AM EDT

Based from the findings of several studies, researchers have constantly reported the healthy benefits of exercise. Not only can exercise lead to a healthier body, it can also promote good cognitive functions. In a new study, researchers examined another potential health benefit of exercising. In this study, the research team reported that exercising could boost sperm count and improve a couple's chances of reproducing.

For this study, the researchers looked at a group of men who entered the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center seeking treatment to improve their conception rates. The male partners of couples had entered the center between 2006 and 2012. A total of 137 men provided sperm samples and reported their daily levels of physical activity.

"Men engaging in exercise for seven hours or more per week, essentially one hour a day, had 48 percent higher concentrations than men who were engaging in less than one hour per week," co-author of the study, Audrey Gaskins said according to Medical Xpress. Gaskins is a doctoral student at the Harvard School of Public Health. "When we looked overall, we found that men who engaged in levels of moderate to vigorous activity had higher levels of sperm concentration."

Even though the researchers found that performing more physical activity leads to higher sperm counts in general, they also discovered that there were specific exercise routines that boosted the numbers even more. The team reported that outdoor activities and weightlifting appeared to have the most effect on sperm count. They calculated that men who exercised outdoors for more than an hour and a half each week had a 42 percent higher sperm concentration when compared to men who did not exercise outdoors at all. For men who weightlifted two or more hours each week, they had a 25 percent increase in their sperm concentration than men who did not lift weights.

"Weightlifting has been shown to increase testosterone levels and improve insulin sensitivity," Gaskins said. "Both of those have been related to higher sperm concentrations."

Despite these findings, the researchers reported that bicycling actually reduced sperm count. They stated that men who biked over an hour and a half each week had a sperm count that was 34 percent lower than men who did not bike. The researchers explained that this reduction could be due to the fact that biking puts pressure on the scrotum and increases the temperature in that area. The researchers did not look at the quality of the sperm.

The study will be presented at the joint meeting of the International Federation of Fertility Societies and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Boston, MA.

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