A new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School has found that men who regularly lift heavy objects at work have higher sperm counts.
The study is part of the Environment and Reproductive Health (ERH) Cohort, a clinical trial that aims to investigate how environmental chemicals and lifestyle affect reproductive health.
“We already know that exercise is associated with numerous human health benefits, including reproductive health, but several studies have examined how occupational factors may contribute to these benefits,” said first author Lydia Minges-Alarcon, associate professor at Harvard Medical and co-investigator of the SRH study.
“These new data suggest that physical activity during work may also be associated with significant improvements in male reproductive potential,” she said.
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Infertility is a growing problem that can be caused by a range of complex factors . However, about 40 percent of infertility cases can be attributed to male factors such as sperm count, sperm quality and sexual function.
In particular, sperm count and sperm quality are thought to be major contributors to rising male infertility rates: a previous analysis by the OSRH research team found that among men seeking fertility treatment, sperm count and quality declined by as much as 42 percent over the period. from 2000 to 2017.
“In addition, there is growing evidence that male infertility is associated with common chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and autoimmune disease, highlighting the broader importance of male reproductive health,” Minges-Alarcón said.
The SRH study is a collaborative project at the Harvard School of Public Health. T. H. Chana and Mass General to assess the influence of environmental and lifestyle factors on fertility.