Is there a best exercise for male fertility? It’s a question a lot of men in our community want to know. When it comes to healthy living, exercise is a no-brainer. Regular physical activity is renowned for its benefits on the heart, brain, muscles and mental health, so it probably isn’t a surprise that exercise can also improve fertility! But the question is, which workout has the biggest impact?
Here we’ll take you through a few of the most popular forms of fitness, and discuss which ones have the most sperm boosting power!
Weightlifting is one of the most popular forms of exercise for guys looking for gains. One great thing about weightlifting is you see physical results fairly quickly, but the benefits go beyond looking good. People who engage in strength training benefit from stronger bones and increased joint flexibility, but what impact does weightlifting have on your fertility?
Testosterone plays a big role in sperm production and fertility, but it also keeps the body functioning properly. Low testosterone can cause fatigue, memory issues, mood swings, and increased body fat. All of which can take a toll on your wellbeing and fertility. Read more about this in our article “The Causes And Symptoms Of Low Testosterone.”
Research shows that strength training can boost testosterone levels in men, so if you’re looking to bulk up physically and give your T levels a helping hand, weights may be the thing for you. It’s also a healthy and natural way to improve your T levels, as opposed to steroids which can actually put you at risk of infertility.
However, while testosterone is important for sperm production, T levels in the testes are much higher than the rest of the body. So if you have low testosterone, don’t worry! You may have perfectly healthy swimmers. If you’re concerned you should always speak to your doctor or get to know your sperm quality with our at-home test.
Running is a simple and effective cardio exercise, good for working out your entire body as well as giving you a chance to clear your mind. When you’re stressed and have time to kill, a quick run does wonders for the body, mind, and reproductive health!
Research shows obese and overweight men are likely to have lower sperm counts than their peers. Running helps to maintain a healthy body fat composition by building muscle and burning calories. So if your weight is affecting your sperm count, running may be the thing you need.
Trying to conceive can be stressful and sometimes take its toll on your mental health. Too much stress can negatively impact your sperm production. Running increases serotonin and dopamine – neurotransmitters which are vital for mental well-being – so to help yourself and your sperm out, why not try running to de-stress?
If you feel unfit or have no experience with running, then the idea of starting can be a little daunting. The good news is there are lots of free programs and apps to get you running with no experience, like Couch to 5k which helps you gradually build up your running skills over 9 weeks.
If we’re going to talk about mental health benefits, we can’t ignore yoga. Originating in ancient India, traditional yoga has been practised to improve physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. In western practice people generally use yoga as a posture-based fitness and stress-relief technique. But regardless of why you do yoga, you can reap the benefits!
Yoga can improve blood circulation, which is great for overall health but also a key factor in male fertility. It has been shown time and time again to improve mental health and relieve people of stress, regular yoga being shown to radically decrease rates of depression and anxiety in people who are struggling with their mental health.
It’s also good for self-control and habit-reversal. Bad habits like overeating, smoking, and drinking alcohol can lead to infertility. Research shows that yoga can help people manage their bad habits and compulsions, so not only does it improve your physical health through activity, it can also help you treat your body more conscientiously and improve your fertility.
This may be a controversial one. Cycling gets a bad rap when it comes to reproductive health, and it’s true that keeping your balls in tight shorts squished against a bike seat can lead to overheating, but cycling may not be all that bad for your fertility. In fact, it may even be good.
In the largest-ever study of cyclists, there was no correlation found between cycling and infertility. The study actually found that men who cycled between 3.75 and 5.75 hours per week had decreased risk of infertility.
The bad news? There’s still a risk of temperature trauma. It’s important to give your balls time to breathe in loose clothing and rest from cycling. A leisurely cycle probably won’t impact fertility, but if you’re spending hours on the bike, try to dial it down. You can also check out our blog “Heat, testicles and infertility, what you need to know.”
Can exercise be bad for your fertility?
While exercise is generally great for your health and fertility, you can have too much of a good thing. With each exercise comes a disclaimer that too much may increase the risks of infertility. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for one is a culprit for high oxidative stress and hormonal imbalance, which can result in decreased sperm density, mobility and morphology. So if weightlifting is your sport of choice, stick to resistance training and give yourself time to recover and relax.
Over-exercising can also have negative impacts on your mental health, including exercise addiction, which can cause body dysmorphia and depression. One study found that people who do 30-90 minutes exercise per day generally have improved mental health, but that exercising more than 23 times a month or doing 90+ minute sessions is associated with worsened mental health. It’s great to get into healthy habits, but make sure you’re not overdoing it.
Conclusion – which is the best exercise for male fertility?
Well, the truth is that it doesn’t really matter what exercise you do – as long as you’re doing some! Any exercise is good for your physical and mental well-being. Finding the right activity for that balance largely depends on you.
It may be weightlifting and running, or active sports like tennis and football. The important thing is staying physically active but also keeping aware of your limitations. Try finding something you love to do, and sticking to a healthy routine will be easier than you think!