New year, new you? If you’re committing to standard resolutions like drinking more water, cutting back on the booze, eating a more nutritious diet, or hitting the gym, you’re in good company. And for men in particular, especially men hoping to make 2022 the year they become fathers, that last resolution may have a happy side benefit — better sperm. There’s an entire body of evidence proving that regular exercise improves sperm quality. And since sperm quality plays a critical role not only in conception, but the health of the placenta and the lifelong health of your future baby, well, that’s pretty compelling motivation for a serious gym habit. Here’s what the research shows and how much exercise you need to reap the better sperm benefits.
- Benefits of regular exercise go beyond the gym — for men hoping to conceive, regular exercise can help improve sperm quality.
- Sperm quality is linked to male fertility and defined specifically by sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm morphology.
- It’s estimated that only one in four men have high sperm quality.
- Proper function of the male reproductive system depends on a man’s health as a whole. That’s why regular exercise can have a positive impact on sperm health.
- Exercise alone may not be enough. Men should take steps to lead a healthier lifestyle in general, which includes adequate sleep, minimizing stress, dropping bad habits like smoking or drug use, eating better, and incorporating a high-quality men’s prenatal vitamin to improve sperm quality and fertility.
- Beli for Men is a science-backed men’s prenatal vitamin with the right nutrients in the right amounts that can help improve sperm health across all parameters.
Defining Sperm Quality and Male Fertility
When we’re talking about sperm quality, it’s intrinsically linked to male fertility. The healthier and more robust the sperm, the more virile the guy, right? Sperm quality itself is identified in a few ways:
- Sperm count. There are around 55 million sperm cruising around in a healthy male’s ejaculation. In a single milliliter of semen, anywhere from 15 million to well over 200 million sperm is considered the normal range. When you get below 15 million sperm per milliliter or less than 39 million sperm in ejaculate, you’re dealing with low sperm count. Only one lucky sperm will fertilize an egg, but the more sperm you have, the better the odds.
- Sperm motility. Motility describes sperm movement patterns, and there are three general groups. Some sperm swim in straight lines or big circles, some swim in all directions but forward, and then there’s the non-moving group. A man is considered fertile if 40% of his sperm are motile.
- Sperm morphology. This is the structure of the sperm. Normal sperm are tadpole-esque, with oval heads and long tails. Abnormal sperm — you know, the ones with two heads — are associated with lower fertility rates. Interestingly, poor lifestyle habits can often be the culprit behind poor sperm morphology.
Real talk — it’s estimated that only one man in four has optimal sperm quality. That makes conception itself harder for the unlucky 75%, but even more concerning, it poses a risk to the health of the pregnancy and the baby, including brain development and birth weight, which can be attributed to the pre-conception health of dad-to-be.
So what’s a guy to do? Commit to a healthier lifestyle — and that includes regular exercise!
Train the Body, Train the Sperm?
It doesn’t work quite like that, but healthy reproductive system function relies on a man’s overall health. When a guy exercises regularly, his testicles work better and those sperm quality parameters improve. In particular, exercise like weight lifting, running, and jogging are linked to higher sperm concentrations, with more bang for your buck than activities like walking or aerobics. Still, any exercise is better than no exercise, since movement can help reduce inflammation for better sperm function. And keep in mind that definitive studies on the exact amount or kind of exercise to improve sperm count don’t yet exist. The big takeaway is that exercise improves sperm quality, so as long as you're moving consistently — three to five times a week — you’re doing something right.
Exercise is Just One Piece of the Puzzle
If the goal is a baby, regular exercise is important — but it may not be enough all by itself. Round it out by taking steps to clean up your lifestyle in general. In addition to exercise, that means getting adequate sleep, doing what you can to minimize stress, cutting back on excessive alcohol consumption, definitely quitting smoking or recreational drug use, and eating better.
A big part of sperm quality comes down to the right nutrients at the right time. If you’re a pizza-and-wings kind of guy, consider incorporating more lean proteins and leafy greens, cutting back on the processed foods, and hedging your bets with a prenatal vitamin specifically formulated for the specialized nutrition guys need. A man’s prenatal vitamin, like Beli for Men, includes scientifically-proven nutrients in the right amounts to help improve and support all parameters of sperm health and increase testosterone.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to a healthy conception, pregnancy, and baby, there are a lot of moving parts. But it takes two to make a baby, and the health of that hopeful dad-to-be can’t really be overstated. All of the things that make for a healthy lifestyle, exercise included, directly benefit your health, and what benefits your health benefits your sperm quality. Funny how that works.