Male Fertility: Keeping The Boys Fit and Fertile
Do you think infertility is a “woman’s problem”? Well, think again. While female factor may be responsible for infertility in 40 percent of couples, about 40 percent is linked to male infertility. A combination of male and female factors (and unknown factors) account for the remaining 20 percent of infertility cases.
Gentlemen, start your engines
A surprising new study showed a relationship between male fertility and exercise. Researchers found that men who engaged in a moderate exercise regimen (1 hour of exercise, 3 times per week) had better sperm results than men who had heavy exercise schedules such as triathletes and marathon runners (Vaamond et al. 2009).
The study results revealed that even men who aren’t extreme athletes may be working out in a way that hinders male fertility and getting pregnant.
In other words, getting too much exercise with little rest between extreme workouts and doing intense exercise activity on the weekends may impair sperm count, morphology and motility. While it only takes one sperm to get pregnant, sperm must be strong and healthy to travel and penetrate the egg.
Some of the latest fertility findings report that regular, moderate exercise may serve as an antioxidant as it trains the body to improve the production of antioxidant enzymes. Yet when exercise is extreme and intense, or when we don’t allow time for the body to repair itself, cellular damage can occur as a result of oxidative stress.
If you’re struggling with infertility or just starting to plan your family, pass the following fertility-boosting tips on to your male partner to make sure that he’s fit and fertile when the time for getting pregnant is near:
Six Fit and Fertile Tips For Guys
Tip #1: Aim for about one hour of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise three times per week. Guys should keep their heart rate around 65 to 75 percent of maximum and allow for plenty of time to rest between exercise workouts.
Tip #2: Go for strengthening exercises. Resistance training helps maintain lean body mass and keeps you strong. But...you still need time to rest so your body can restore itself. Make sure to allow about 2 days of rest between strength training sessions to optimize muscle repair and workout effectiveness.
Tip #3: Get into yoga. Yoga is a proven discipline that helps to reduce stress and release muscle tension in the hips, back and groin. If you are relaxed and have improved blood flow to the pelvic organs, then you have natural Viagra—and it’s free!
Tip #4: Avoid back-to-back strenuous work-outs. It’s important to alternate between endurance workouts, strength training, yoga or flexibility exercises.
Tip #5: Wear boxers and loose shorts to exercise. Avoid saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs to keep the testicles cool and functioning optimally.
Tip #6: Do relaxation exercises every day. Block 15 to 20 minutes each day to practice meditation, deep abdominal breathing or the relaxation response. Making time to relax is important in a frenetic society that has lost touch with downtime.
Using these six fit and fertile tips, your partner can improve his male prowess and “start up his fertility engines” when the time is right.
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Vaamond et al. Response of semen parameters to three training modalities. Fertil Steril 2009; 92: 1941-6.