Lazy Men Have Fewer and Slower Sperm

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Two publications from the same the study population (Rochester Young Men’s Study) affirmed what women everywhere have long suspected: active, healthy men make better mates. That’s right, exercise and healthy diet affect a man’s ability to mate at the most fundamental level – his sperm quality.

Researchers from Harvard’s School of Public Health found that otherwise health young men (ages 18-22, n = 188) who were predominantly sedentary and/or eat poorly had significantly fewer sperm and slower, less active sperm. Because the studies were analyzed and published separately and we were only able to access the abstracts, it is not clear if men who were both sedentary and had a poor diet suffered greater reductions in sperm quantity and quality than men who met only one of those requirements. We can only surmise that it would be the case.

Physical activity and sperm quantity. Men with greater than 15 hours per week of moderate to vigorous activity had an average 73% more sperm than men who were largely sedentary and exercised <5 hours per week.

Diet and sperm quality. Men who ate well and included fruits, vegetables and fish in their diets had 11% more active (motile) sperm than men who ate the typical western diet rich in processed food and red meat.

The takeaway, exercise and healthy diet impact one’s ability to conceive at the most basic level. So before mating or seeking pricey fertility treatments, consider cleaning up your diet and lifestyle.

Chandler Marrs MS, MA, PhD spent the last dozen years in women’s health research with a focus on steroid neuroendocrinology and mental health. She has published and presented several articles on her findings. As a graduate student, she founded and directed the UNLV Maternal Health Lab, mentoring dozens of students while directing clinical and Internet-based research. Post graduate, she continued at UNLV as an adjunct faculty member, teaching advanced undergraduate psychopharmacology and health psychology (stress endocrinology). Dr. Marrs received her BA in philosophy from the University of Redlands; MS in Clinical Psychology from California Lutheran University; and, MA and PhD in Experimental Psychology/ Neuroendocrinology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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