A new study from the University of Western Australia implies that men who spend more time in the gym have lower sperm count, on average, than those who don’t.
The study began by requesting full-body photographs and a semen sample from 118 men. The photographs were then rated by 12 women on how ‘attractive’ and ‘masculine’ the men appeared to be. A further 91 men and women rated the photographs on how strong the men looked.
Predictably, the men who appeared stronger were rated as the more attractive and most masculine of the bunch, but their sperm counts were generally lower. The reason why is not particularly clear and more research is necessary to truly understand the correlation.
One theory suggests that overexerting in the gym leaves little energy for sperm production. Alternatively, there could be evolutionary reasons behind this disparity. It’s also worth noting that body-building steroids can often have a devastating and permanent shrinking effect on the testes and reduce sperm quality.
As with all low-scale research, with a limited number of participants, the results cannot always be trusted. Furthermore, since the semen samples were not assessed before the participants started working out, the count may have lower than average all their lives. Either way, strength training is only part of the story.
Fertility can be affected by a variety of influencing factors, from diet and genetics to underwear choice and lifestyle. With that in mind, don’t panic if you’re a frequent gym user! It’s important to read the latest research with a level of scepticism, as every case of infertility is unique.
If you do happen to be concerned about your fertility, however, it is worth booking consultation with Concept Fertility. We will be able to assess the quality of your sperm, or find an alternative reason why you might be struggling to conceive a child.