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Am J Mens Health. 2017 May;11(3):654-662. doi: 10.1177/1557988316669045. Epub 2016 Sep 19.

The Impact of Intense Exercise on Semen Quality.

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1 University School of Physical Education, Wrocław, Poland.
2 University of Padua, Padua, Italy.


With expanding knowledge on the health benefits of exercise, there is an increasing demand for information on the andrological consequences of participating in sports. These consequences are especially important in the context of infertility problems worldwide. The so-called "male factor" is reported in up to 50% of couples having trouble with conception. The answer to the question, "Is physical activity good for male reproductive health?" is not straightforward. A number of studies have suggested that significant changes in semen parameters may occur due to sports training of certain types, intensities, and durations. The changes to these parameters vary in scope, direction, and magnitude. Findings in recreational athletes have also differed from those in professional athletes. This review of the current literature suggests that intense physical activity may affect the semen concentration, as well as the number of motile and morphologically normal spermatozoa. Training at higher intensities and with increased loads seems to be associated with more profound changes in semen quality. In recreational athletes, exercise has either a positive or neutral effect on semen parameters. Due to many limitations (e.g., global sperm count trends, concerns about the quality control of sperm evaluations, and new standards for semen analysis), comparisons among historical data and their interpretation are difficult.


andrology; exercise; male reproductive health

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