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Fitness & Health

19th Aug 2019

Why doing too much cardio can affect your testosterone and fertility

You might think about jumping on a treadmill when looking to lose weight, but research suggests excessive cardio could affect your fertility

Alex Roberts

When looking to lose weight, your first move may be to jump on a treadmill

However, doing too much cardio could compromise your fertility, according to research. To understand why, JOE spoke to Dr. Ferran Garcia, Head of the Andrology Unit at Institut Marquès.

JOE: In what way does excessive cardio affect fertility?

Dr. Garcia: “According to recent studies published by Oxford University, overdoing cardio exercise could do more harm than good for male fertility.

“Leaner men were found to have a lower sperm count than those considered to be overweight. This is because of a drop in levels of testosterone. This often happens as a result of an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol.”

While high intensity cardio is a great calorie blaster, it also increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol

Just how debilitating is poor fertility in men?

“Research has shown that male infertility problems are the single cause of couples not being able to conceive naturally in 30 percent of cases. They are also a contributing factor in a further 20 percent of cases.

“Despite these numbers, male issues are often forgotten when discussing the topic of infertility. More emphasis is placed on problems experienced by women.

“Often people feel like they are falling short of what is required of them as a man, and ultimately feel frustrated and emotional.”

What is the best way of training to boost your testosterone and protect fertility?

“Most men find that decreasing the intensity of certain exercises can go a long way in avoiding excessive testosterone loss.

“A safe training schedule could include a combination of walking/cycling, weight training and yoga with at least 1-2 rest days each week.

“Everyone responds differently to certain levels of training, therefore it’s important to tailor fitness plans according to how much body fat you have in the first place. As well, consider the amount of sleep and protein you are getting. The key is to avoid excessive amounts of intense cardio which can strain your body.”

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