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Fertility - Overview | February 26, 2021, 6:03 CST

7 Tips for Healthier Sperm

Whether you’re planning to have a family now or later, here’s what to know about healthy sperm.
Kurtis Bright

Written by

Kurtis Bright
Chris Kyle, M.D.

Reviewed by

Chris Kyle, M.D.
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Keeping your sperm healthy means both making sure they are individually in good shape and that you’re producing plenty of them. Even if you’re not thinking about having children yet, it’s never too soon to consider the health of your sperm.

And here’s how...

Lifestyle choices for better sperm health

About 9 percent of men of reproductive age struggle with fertility issues, according to the National Institutes of Health. While infertility can result from any number of serious medical conditions, a good first step toward heading off fertility issues is to look at the aspects you can change.

If you want to make sure your sperm is as healthy as possible, a few simple lifestyle and dietary choices can help.

1. Exercise regularly

In general, exercise is good for your health. Individuals should strive to get at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. That doesn’t have to be a strict workout in a gym; it can be as easy as walking for 30 minutes, five days a week. However, some specific workouts may prove particularly helpful to sperm health. Research indicates that weight training and exercising outdoors supports healthy sperm more than other types of exercise.

2. Quit smoking

Cigarette smoking introduces toxins into the body that harm semen quality. In fact, according to a 2016 meta-study published in the National Library of Medicine, smoking cigarettes has been demonstrated to have a negative impact on semen volume, sperm count and sperm motility, all of which are crucial factors in a man’s ability to conceive.

3. Eat a balanced diet

Several foods have been shown to promote higher sperm count and support other aspects of male sexual function. The choice of food is wide and varied, including blueberries, strawberries, kale, spinach, artichokes and dark chocolate. If you eat at least five servings of antioxidant-laden fruit and vegetables each day, you’ll give your sperm a boost.

4. Achieve & maintain a healthy weight

Being obese or overweight has a significant impact on semen quality, semen volume and sperm count, according to researchers. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can do wonders for the health of your sperm.

5. Go easy on the booze

While you don’t necessarily have to give up all alcohol to avoid fertility issues, studies have shown that you may help yourself by limiting alcohol intake to one or two drinks a couple of times a week. If you avoid heavy drinking and the wild benders you had (or are having) in your youth, you can increase your chances of producing quality sperm.

6. Wear boxers

It’s an old wives’ tale that just happens to be true: Men who wear looser-fitting underwear have a higher sperm count compared to men who wear tighter-fitting undergarments. This advice is backed up by researchers, according to a study published in the journal Human Reproduction. The belief is that sperm development hinges on the testicles remaining at a slightly cooler temperature than the rest of the body. Building on that logic, you may also consider taking showers instead of baths if you plan on trying to conceive.

7. Careful with that bike

Some studies show that men who ride a bicycle regularly can experience problems with sperm quality. One study showed that cycling five hours per week can reduce sperm concentration. Make sure your bike is a good fit for your height, and look into a more cushioned, wider saddle that spreads the pressure across your glutes rather than impinging directly on your perineum and testicles.

What to take away

While a wide variety of factors determine each man’s semen quality and sperm count, incorporating a few healthy changes into your life can increase your chances of having healthy sperm on board for whenever you and your partner are ready to conceive.

Kurtis Bright

Written by

Kurtis Bright
Chris Kyle, M.D.

Reviewed by

Chris Kyle, M.D.