If you are trying to conceive, chances are you’ve done your research about how you can improve your fertility. Diet and exercise can play a role in women’s fertility, but also in male fertility as well. We all know that generally exercise is good for us, but in some instances it can impair male fertility. Keep reading to learn more about what exercise is good and when it may lead to problems.

What Science Shows

A few different things within a guy’s control can impact fertility. These include things like alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, nutrition and level of physical activity. We know that exercise helps to manage weight and is good for us, but more research is showing that lack of physical activity in our population may be contributing to increased infertility.

Amount and Type of Exercise

One paper examined how much and what type of activity impacted male fertility and found that men who exercised more than 1.5 hours per week and did strength training at least 2 hours per week had sperm concentrations between 25 and 42% higher (Belladelli, 2023).

The Belladelli paper also looked at type of exercise and found that men who cycled for exercise over 1.5 hours per week had 34% lower sperm concentrations than those who did not. Other studies show that marathon training, and high amounts of cycling, running or even powerlifting can all negatively impact sperm quality (Minas 2022).

What Does This Mean?

More research is still needed to make clear-cut guidelines on how much or what types of exercise to “avoid” fertility issues. It is suggested for guys to do moderate intensity exercise at least 150 minutes per week, and a combination of cardio and strength training is recommended for optimal benefits!

The Research

Belladelli F, Basran S, Eisenberg ML.   Male Fertility and Physical Exercise.   World J Mens Health. 2023 Jul;41(3):482-488.   https://doi.org/10.5534/wjmh.220199

Minas, A., Fernandes, A. C. C., Maciel Júnior, V. L., Adami, L., Intasqui, P., & Bertolla, R. P. (2022). Influence of physical activity on male fertility. Andrologia, 54( 7), e14433. https://doi.org/10.1111/and.14433

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