Does Your Workout Affect Your Sperm?

More and more men are starting to think about their fitness and health and how it affects their sperm.


Exercise is an important part of overall health and well-being, and it can have an effect on sperm production and semen quality. While physical activity has been shown to benefit the reproductive system, too much or the wrong type of exercise can also have a negative impact. To ensure optimal reproductive health and performance, it is important to understand how different types of activity might affect sperm production and semen quality. This guide provides an overview of the potential impacts of exercise on sperm quantity and quality, as well as some tips for making sure your workouts have a positive effect.

How Exercise Affects Sperm Quality

A healthy lifestyle is important for the quality of your sperm. Exercise can be beneficial to a man’s fertility, but in some cases it may actually have an adverse effect. In this article, we’ll look at how exercise can affect sperm health and quality and provide tips for maintaining good sperm health through exercise.

Benefits of Exercise on Sperm Quality

Regular exercise can have a positive effect on a man’s overall health, including his reproductive health. Studies have found that men who exercise regularly are more likely to have higher quality sperm than those who don’t. Exercise may help boost sperm count and motility, as well as improve serum testosterone levels and semen parameters.

Exercise isn’t the only factor when it comes to good sperm quality—a healthy diet is also important. Men should maintain a balanced diet that consists of whole grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables. Eating antioxidant-rich foods like leafy greens, blueberries, oranges and garlic can help maintain good sperm quality by protecting against oxidative stress. Healthy fats like olive oil are beneficial as well.

Men should avoid intense physical activity that requires extreme flexibility or may put too much pressure on their reproductive organs. Excessive heat exposure can also impair sperm production, so saunas or hot tubs should be avoided. Men should be mindful of their overall lifestyle choices and strive for a healthy balance of both physical activity and nutritious food consumption to promote optimal sperm quality for better fertility potential.

Risks of Exercise on Sperm Quality

Exercising regularly is essential for staying fit and healthy. However, many men might wonder how their workout routine affects the health of their sperm. While exercising can offer many benefits to overall wellbeing, some very intensive types of exercise can be detrimental to sperm health.

Too much exercise, especially endurance exercise, is associated with poorer sperm quality and quantity. Low intensity exercise is beneficial as it maintains muscle mass, improves cholesterol levels and reduces stress levels; whereas high intensity exercise increases cortisol levels which has a negative effect on reproductive hormones.

In general, men should aim for moderate-intensity exercise of up to 1 hour per day or 2-3 times per week for the best outcome in maintaining good general health without risking poor sperm quality if undergoing fertility treatments such as IVF or IUI (intrauterine insemination). More frequent intense exercising should be avoided for at least 3 months prior to fertility testing or treatments as it may have a temporary impact on semen parameters that could lead to incorrect results. Examples of things that men should avoid includes high intensity training such as long distance running or cycling, weight lifting exercises and too strenuous high intensity interval training (HIIT).Men should also strive to maintain a healthy diet with plenty of antioxidants to protect the sperm from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Exercise is generally beneficial for men’s health, however, there can be a limit to how much it can help your sperm count and quality. Research suggests that men who commit to exercising moderately for at least three times a week can raise their sperm count, as well as its quality. However, performing overly strenuous workouts may have an adverse effect on male fertility. Let’s discuss further into the recommended guidelines for male exercise when trying to conceive.


How hard you exercise can have a direct effect on the quality of sperm production in men. Exercise intensity affects both physical and psychological factors, such as muscle physique, stress levels and general wellbeing. To ensure optimal sperm quality, it is recommended that men focus on moderate-intensity rather than high- or low-intensity exercise.

Moderate intensity workouts generally last longer than most other types of workout and involve expending enough energy to cause some degree of discomfort but not so much that it becomes unbearable. For example, you might walk 10 miles at a moderate pace or jog 3 miles three times a week. Light strength training exercises are also usually recommended to maintain muscle health. By doing too strenuous of work, the risk is run of becoming overly fatigued which can lead to hormonal changes in the body, adversely affecting performance and well being.

High intensity exercise – often referred to as anaerobic exercise – involves sudden bursts of energy for short durations such as power lifting or sprinting. Low impact workouts are gentler forms of exercise such as yoga or swimming which are thought to improve flexibility and reduce stress levels better than other more vigorous forms.

It should be noted that too much low intensity physical activity does not provide strong enough stimulation for good sperm quality either; every individual should find their own balance between different types of activity which works best for them personally.


Men should aim to do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week, in addition to muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen and shoulders).

To maximize health benefits and minimally affect sperm concentration or motility, men should keep their workouts between 60 to 90 minutes. Prolonged exercise may reduce overall testosterone production in the body and can cause an increase of scrotal temperature. This temperature increase could negatively impact sperm production.

For men looking to maintain fertility and/or have children, it is important that they continue regular exercise as a part of their healthy lifestyle. Frequency is just as important as duration — it is recommended that men vary the type and intensity of their workout routine each week in order maximize their health benefits while minimizing any negative impacts on fertility.


The duration of your workout is important because it has a significant impact on your sperm health. Exercise guidelines for men set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, per week (with most, if not all of that taking place over several days). This should be broken up into short bouts lasting 10 minutes or more.

Additionally, strength training activities that involve all major muscle groups should be performed twice per week. These exercises should incorporate 10-15 repetitions in the form of lifting weights or resistance bands. Be sure to start with lighter weights and build up over time to avoid injury and maximize benefits. Finally, make sure you stretch after each workout session to prevent soreness and improve mobilty of your joints.


The conclusive evidence of the effects of exercise on sperm quality is not yet clear. Several studies have suggested that there is a positive correlation between exercise and sperm quality, while others have failed to draw significant connections. It should be noted that the vast majority of studies that have reported improved semen parameters were conducted over a short period of time with an intense exercise regimen. Additionally, the data obtained from population-based studies generally fail to maintain any correlation after correcting for obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking habits.

At present, it is difficult to make an unequivocal statement about the effect of exercise on male reproductive health based solely on scientific evidence. However, given current trends in public health recommendations for general physical activity, it is reasonable to assume that moderate physical activity may at least contribute modestly towards male reproductive health by improving sperm quality in some men. In any case, further research will be needed before strong statements can be made about the effects of exercise on sperm production and motility.

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