OVERVIEW: Getting a low motility score on a home sperm test or in a clinical analysis is rarely good news — but it doesn’t have to mean daddy doomsday. In fact, most factors that negatively impact your sperm motility (moving sperm- the ones that count!) are entirely reversible.
It takes about 3 months for your body to produce a fresh batch of sperm, so implementing simple lifestyle changes can change your stats within a few months. Are you looking for new and natural ways to improve your sperm motility? Below are 8 ideas to get those swimmers swimming.
8 Simple things you can do to improve sperm motility
1. Eat better
We all know that eating fruit, vegetables, and whole foods is good for your heart, but did you know that it’s also good for your sperm? The antioxidants and linolenic acid found in many types of produce have been proven to improve sperm health and a diet of processed foods. Especially, processed meats can cause sperm count and motility to plummet.
So if losing 10 pounds wasn’t enough to motivate you to ditch the hot dogs and donuts, boosting your sperm motility could do the trick. Need some inspiration for a new diet?
Try these 15 foods sperm superfoods:
- Dark Chocolate
- Zinc Rich Foods (Oysters)
- Goji Berries
- Pumpkin Seeds
2. Avoid Chemicals and plastics
No one knows exactly why male fertility is plummeting so quickly, but one of the theories is that exposure to pesticides and toxins from plastic cookware may be a factor. This is also one of the easiest lifestyle changes to implement- choose organic produce and make sure to warm your food up in glass or ceramic dishes rather than in Tupperware or other plastic containers.
Below are some chemicals that can hurt male fertility:
- Nonstick Chemicals
- Flame Retardants
3. Keep electronics off your lap
It may be called a LAP TOP, but keeping it in your lap is a bad idea if you’re trying to improve your sperm motility. Carrying your cell in your pocket isn’t recommended either.
Bestselling author Tim Ferriss tested this in his book, ‘The 4 Hour Body’, with a simple experiment. First, he carried his phone in his pocket as usual (like most men do), and tested his sperm count. Then, he spent a week with his phone in his backpack or on an arm strap and re-took the exam. Guess what happened?
Yep- His sperm count went up. Listen to Tim explaining it in this short interview:
4. Keep things cool
Sperm needs to be 2-3 degrees cooler than body temperature to survive and thrive, which is why the scrotum hangs away from the body. Tight clothing, such as skinny jeans and jockey underwear push your testicles against the core of your body where they’re warmed by your body heat. Sitting in a hot tub or hot bath can also raise the temperature of your sperm.
So ditch the skinny jeans, jockeys and hot tubs, and choose boxers and loose pants to keep your swimmers cool and active. It may seem like the opposite of what you need when trying to make a baby, but maybe it’s time for a cold shower!
5. Put out the Cigarettes
Smoking has been proven to affect sperm count and motility, and tobacco metabolites can even be found in semen.
Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between smoking and sperm count. VeryWell.com reported on a meta-analysis of the effect of smoking on semen health published by European Urology in April 2016. The analysis included 20 studies and over 5000 men across Europe. The study found that smoking negatively impacted all elements of sperm health including sperm count, sperm motility (moving sperm) and sperm morphology (sperm shape,) which impacts the sperm’s ability to swim to the egg.
Other studies have even shown that smoking can damage the DNA of your sperm. The good news is that sperm health seems to bounce back relatively quickly once you quit smoking.
6. Get your Z’s
You may think about your bed in other ways when trying to conceive, but actually getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do to improve your sperm motility.
Research has shown that men who get 7-8 hours of sleep have a 42% higher chance of getting their partners pregnant than men who sleep less (or more). A recent study in Denmark, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology has even shown that poor sleep quality can negatively impact sperm health. This is probably because the body produces more testosterone, a hormone critical to sperm health, during sleep.
A study discovered that guys who slept for 4 hours had testosterone levels of around 200-300 ng/dl. Guys who slept for 8 hours had much higher levels at around 500-700 ng/dl. Read how each extra hour of sleep means roughly 15% more testosterone.
7. Ditch the drinks
A number of studies have found that heavy alcohol consumption in men appears to affect sperm count and sperm motility.
You may be thinking that it’s not such a big deal but here’s a simple stat- drinking more than 5 alcohol units (a can of beer is a unit) a week can cause a decrease in sperm count and motility. Research shows that men who drink more than 6 units of alcohol (330 m”l of beer is a unit) per week were 14% less likely to become a father. Even moderate drinkers, who consume less than 5 drinks a week were found to have decreased sperm count and motility. It’s hard to say exactly how many drinks are too many, but your swimmers will swim faster and better with less alcohol in your system.
Are you drinking too much? Judge for yourself
8. Get moving
Exercising regularly has shown to directly improve sperm motility and health. Like with sleep, this is likely due to hormones, mainly testosterone, that are produced when exercising. So when you get moving, your sperm do too. How much exercise is enough?
According to a study published in the Journal of the Society for Reproduction and Fertility – doing a half an hour exercise 3 times a week can give your sperm count a boost, but other studies show that you need at least 5 hours a week for a significant impact. But don’t overdo it- too much exercise can actually harm sperm production.
Testing sperm motility (the live swimmers) is important. With studies showing that sperm count has decreased by over 55% in the past 38 years knowing where you (or your partner) stand and taking action to improve is more critical than ever.
Exercise impacts sperm count and motility. Make sure you’re getting the right balance of exercise and rest- test your sperm, choose an exercise program and maintain it for one month. At the end of the month, test again and see if your results have improved. If they have, keep up with your program, and if not, try modifying your program and testing again.
Do you have sperm motility tips that we missed? Let us know in the comments!