The Norman Transcript

Community News Network

February 5, 2013

Sperm count favors athlete over couch potato, research suggests

Young men who work out frequently have as much as 73 percent more sperm than those who don't, and the more television one watches, the lower the count goes, according to a study by Harvard researchers.

College-aged men who exercised more than 14 hours a week had the highest sperm counts. Watching TV had the opposite effect, with sperm counts almost halved for those viewing 20 or more hours a week, according to the study published yesterday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

"The message is pretty clear," said Jorge Chavarro, an assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. "It makes sense to turn off the TV, and it makes sense to put on your running shoes or sports gear and get out there."

The findings may influence how people think about exercise and men's reproductive health. Past studies looking at sperm counts in athletes focused on highly trained cyclists and long- distance runners, and found that intense exercise by those athletes can reduce sperm. The Harvard researchers said their study participants included all types of athletes such as those who ran or who played soccer, basketball, baseball or football.

The researchers examined semen samples from 189 men who reported their exercise and TV viewing habits over three months. Exercise was counted as any physical activity that made the subjects "somewhat to very" winded or sweaty.

Sperm counts started to rise after about eight hours a week of exercise, said Chavarro, the study's senior author.

"More physical activity is better," he said. Those that exercised eight to 14 hours a week had sperm counts 27 percent higher than sedentary men, while working out over 14 hours a week increased sperm count by nearly three quarters.

"That's still quite a bit of exercise, compared to what most people achieve," Chavarro said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014