The Responsibility Rests on Both
When a couple decides it's time to get pregnant, it is a joint decision. However, the onus often falls on the woman to do whatever she can to ensure she's in health and ready to conceive. There's another side to the coin though, and men have as much responsibility to ensure they are healthy and fertile as well.
There are a few things that are well known in the area of male fertility, such as the negative effects of alcohol and drugs. Smoking is linked to low sperm production and male infertility - it's not healthy for men or for the people who are around them. Marijuana is not only illegal, but it results in a loss of sperm fertility. It is known that anabolic steroids affect male fertility adversely and are not advised either.
Effects of Hard Workouts on Male Fertility
What has been a lost piece of information are the effects of hard workouts and extreme sports on male fertility. Over recent years there have been extensive tests and research done on the role of exercise upon the reproductive systems of human beings. Most of the research has been on women; however, there is a growing body of research about the effects of excessive and extensive training upon the male reproductive system. The evidence now points to the fact that men who participate in ongoing endurance training show mild degrees of abnormalities in their reproductive systems. Mostly, the abnormalities have been noted in the reduction of resting levels of testosterone, changes to the release of luteinizing hormone and prolactin from the pituitary gland and abnormalities in the characteristics of the sperm. Heavy workouts in the gym can cause changes in the male hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis as well as a decrease in testosterone.
Mountain Biking and Fertility
Another area that has recently come to light is mountain biking. Compared to non-cyclists, mountain bikers register less than half the sperm count and less sperm movement. The same results were not found in road cyclists. Dr. Ferdinand Frauscher, head of the department or uroradiology at University Hospital, Innsbruck, Austria said, "Based on our findings, we believe that extreme mountain biking results in semen alterations, which may have an impact on fertility."
Mountain bikers have been reporting to their doctors because they found suspicious lumps in their scrotums. After ultrasound imaging it was discovered that the cyclists had more tiny calcifications than a group of similar men who were not mountain bikers. Nearly 90 percent of the bikers exhibited abnormalities as compared to 26 percent of the men who were not mountain bikers. In North America alone, more than 10 million people are actively involved in the sport.
Less Is More
Exercise is good but if you're working toward pregnancy, a man should lighten the exercise load significantly to help ensure his fertility.