Logging a lot of hours in front of the television? A new study from the British Journal of Medicine says that’s bad news for your sperm count. Doctors have found that sperm count and quality has decreased over the last decade in general, and set out to find out if a less active lifestyle was responsible.
Researchers studied 189 young men ages 18 to 22 from Rochester, New York. The men were asked about things that affect sperm count, like mental health issues, smoking habits, diet and stress. More than half of the men fell within a healthy weight range for their age and height and 75 percent were nonsmoker. Where men differed widely was the amount of TV they watched, ranging from 4 to 20 hours a week, and the amount of exercise they did.
The results showed that men who were most active, meaning doing 15 or more hours of exercise weekly, had sperm counts that were 73 percent higher than their more sedentary peers. It seems the exercise needed to be at least moderately intense, because those who did light exercise did not have a significantly higher sperm count. Conversely, the men who spent 20 or more hours watching television each week had a sperm count that was 44 percent lower than the jocks in the group.
The researchers cautioned that sperm count isn’t necessarily linked to fertility; what’s most important is the shape, strength and mobility of sperm, which didn’t vary widely between the men in their study. But if you and your partner are trying to get pregnant, it might be a good idea to add some exercise to your routine just the same.