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Gym ‘damages male fertility’

Article by Sarah Getty for the Metro newspaper - Thursday, October 12, 2006

High intensity workouts can lower male sperm counts, new research suggests.

The results indicate exercise could impair fertility in men with already poor sperm counts.

Strenuous work-outs also reduce the levels of two male hormones, doctors discovered.

For the test, 16 healthy young men were asked to pedal to exhaustion on an exercise bike four times a week for two weeks, or to avoid intense physical activity.

The exercisers showed a drop in their sperm concentration, ejaculate volume and number of sperm per ejaculation.

Their levels of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone fell, but remained within normal levels. Their testosterone levels rose.

However, two to three days after the training ended, their hormone levels and measures of sperm and semen quality and quantity had returned to near-normal levels, the researchers found.

But recovery might not be so quick among older men, the doctors warned, as the average age of the men in the study was 19.

Exercise could have disrupted the interactions – between the brain, the pituitary gland and the testicles – that control fertility, the researchers from the University of Cordoba in Spain wrote in the International Journal of Sports Medicine.

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— Phil @ 6:45 pm, October 20, 2006

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