Can Exercise Help Improve Male Fertility? Let’s Look at the Research By Nurit Winkler on January 14, 2023

sperm viewed through microscope

There’s a lot of focus on female infertility in the field of assisted reproductive technology. However, fertility problems that affect men can also prevent couples from starting a family. The Los Angeles Reproductive Center offers numerous treatments for male infertility at our offices in Encino and Bakersfield, CA.

In addition to professional treatment, we may recommend some lifestyle changes to help increase the chances of conception. As it turns out, exercise can potentially improve male fertility. Let’s look at the research and consider the science involved.

A Study on Exercise and Sperm Count

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) compared the sperm counts of men who led active lifestyles, including exercise, to men who led sedentary lifestyles watching TV. The findings of this study were later published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2013.

What the HSPH Study Found

The HSPH study found the following:

  • Men who watched 20 hours of TV a week had a 44% lower sperm count than men who watched little to no TV
  • Men who did moderate-to-vigorous exercise for 15 hours a week had a 73% higher sperm count than men who exercised for only 5 hours or less a week

Findings from a Similar Study

These results are not isolated. The BBC reported on another clinical trial conducted by the journal Reproduction. The trial divided men into four groups:

  • No exercise for 24 weeks
  • Three sessions of moderate exercise a week for 24 weeks
  • Three sessions of intense exercise a week for 24 weeks
  • Three sessions of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) a week for 24 weeks

The three exercise groups all showed higher average sperm counts compared to the no-exercise groups. Moderate exercise yielded the best results.

Why Does Exercise Improve Male Fertility?

There are many factors that could be at play. A 2012 study by the European Journal of Applied Physiology noted that men who exercise regularly and remain physically active typically have better testosterone levels and reduced body fat.

Healthier male sex hormone levels typically contribute to better sperm quality and improved fertility.

Worth Noting: Too Much Exercise Is Bad for Fertility

Keep in mind that studies on exercise and male fertility mention it’s possible to exercise too much. The American Journal of Men's Health noted that intense training (particularly by professional athletes in cycling, marathon running, and mountaineering) could lead to reduced sperm count and lower sperm quality.

people exercising

Will Exercise Help Me and My Partner Become Parents?

Not necessarily.

While exercise and other lifestyle changes can increase your chances of conceiving, it is not a guarantee.

Male infertility is more complicated than just sperm count. Other factors may be preventing a couple from having a child. That’s why different fertility tests have to be performed to identify the various causes of infertility at work.

How Los Angeles Reproductive Center Can Help

The doctors at our offices in Encino and Bakersfield have helped many men struggling with infertility. We can perform a semen analysis to assess sperm count and other factors that affect sperm quality. After identifying what issues may be present, we can then develop a treatment plan that addresses your needs.

Contact Los Angeles Reproductive Center

Would you like to learn more about fertility treatment for male infertility? If so, contact or fertility specialists today. You can also reach our office locations directly by phone:

  • Encino Office - (818) 946-8051
  • Bakersfield Office - (661) 889-5173

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Los Angeles Reproductive Center office

Los Angeles Reproductive Center

Los Angeles Reproductive Center is a state-of-the-art fertility center offering the latest fertility testing and treatment options. Our fertility specialists, Dr. Nurit Winkler and Dr. Marc Kalan, are double board-certified doctors who have been widely recognized for their contributions to reproductive medicine. 

To help all patients achieve their dreams of parenthood, our doctors offer:

  • Compassionate care
  • Flexible payment options
  • Two conveniently located offices

Schedule a consultation online or call us at (818) 946-8051 to learn more about our fertility treatments.

Reach Out To Us Today

Los Angeles Reproductive Center is a unique fertility clinic focused on treating patients like family and built upon the principles of communication, compassion, warmth, openness, and service that accompanies an exceptional pregnancy rate. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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