For stronger sperm, you may want to turn off the TV and hit the gym.
Healthy college-age guys glued to the tube for more than 20 hours a week had 44 percent lower sperm counts than men who watched barely any television, according to a new study published today in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. By contrast, the 18- to 22-year-olds who devoted at least 15 hours a week to moderate to vigorous exercise boasted 73 percent higher sperm count than their couch-potato peers who worked out fewer than 5 hours per week. (Researchers did not ask guys about time spent on the computer.)
Here’s why that matters: Doctors typically consider semen quantity a marker of fertility potential, says Harvard’s Audrey Gaskins, lead author of the study. Fortunately, it’s not the be all and end all. “Men have millions of sperm, and it really only takes one to get a woman pregnant,” she says.
So how could TV lower sperm count? No, it’s not that The Bachelor kills your sex drive—“We think it has more to do with the sitting and the sedentary behavior than actually watching TV,” says Gaskins. High stress levels in the body inhibit sperm production. But exercise, a natural antioxidant, counteracts this. That’s also why the study authors found that light physical exercise—no matter how frequent—failed to boost sperm count; you see the most antioxidant benefits when you get winded and sweaty.
For a hard workout that’s guaranteed to have you dripping with sweat, check out The New Spartacus Workout—now on DVD!
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