Too much TV could damage sperm production
February 4th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

Too much TV could damage sperm production

Semen quality is a much-discussed subject among scientists these days. Data suggests sperm concentration has been declining in Western countries over the past couple of decades - and reasons for the decline are debatable.

The lead author of a new study on the subject, Audrey Gaskins, has been studying the effects of diet and exercise on semen for several years as a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health. Her latest research shows a lack of physical activity – and too much time in front of the television - may impact sperm count and concentration.

Previous studies have shown a link between physical activity and decreased levels of oxidative stress, Gaskins says. “Oxidative stress” is stress placed on the body as it tries to get rid of free radicals or repair the damage caused by them. Exercise may protect certain male cells from oxidative damage, Gaskins says, leading to increased sperm concentration.

Those findings led Gaskins to complete an observational study on young men’s exercise and TV habits as they relate to semen quality. The results were published online Monday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The study

Gaskins and her colleagues asked 189 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 22 how often they exercised each week and how intensely they worked out. The study participants also recorded their TV watching habits.

Then at the clinic, semen samples were collected from each man. The semen was analyzed for sperm size and shape, motility, concentration and total sperm count.

The researchers also conducted a physical examination and looked at the men’s diet, body weight, reproductive history, stress levels and smoking habits to rule out other potential causes of their findings.

The results

The men who did moderate to vigorous exercise 15 hours or more per week had a significantly higher sperm concentration than those who worked out less than five hours a week. And the men who watched more than 20 hours of TV a week had almost half the sperm concentration as the men who watched zero hours a week.

Gaskins says the researchers found these associations between TV, exercise and sperm concentration regardless of the men’s diet, body weight or smoking habits.

Sperm motility and size/shape did not appear to be affected by exercise or time spent in front of the TV.

The caveats

The data used in this study came from a relatively small group of men, meaning it may not translate well to the general population as a whole. And only one semen sample was collected from each man; that sample could have been different from the participant’s “normal” levels.

The data was also self-reported – i.e., the study participants could have elaborated or underestimated the amount of time they spent doing a particular activity.

Observational studies like this (that don’t include a separate control group) make it impossible to prove a cause-and-effect relationship, Gaskins says. While there appears to be a link between physical activity and sperm concentration, the two could really be unrelated.

It’s also “not possible to conclude from these findings whether the observed differences in sperm counts translate into clinically relevant difference in fertility,” the study authors write.

The takeaway

This study doesn’t conclusively prove physical activity boosts your fertility, or that watching too much TV damages your sperm. But there is plenty of research out there on the other benefits of exercise.

Do yourself – and potentially your little swimmers – a favor by staying active. If that means giving up some TV time, so be it.

soundoff (631 Responses)
  1. Sprinter Van Ecu Repair


    June 8, 2021 at 00:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. rv cabinets and furniture


    June 8, 2021 at 01:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. bus paint shop

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thanks, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    June 8, 2021 at 01:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Technician Orange County

    I blog quite often and I truly appreciate your information. The article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about once per week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.


    June 8, 2021 at 01:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will revisit yet again since i have saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to guide other people.


    June 8, 2021 at 21:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Interior Remodeling California


    June 8, 2021 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. geico commercial horse


    June 8, 2021 at 23:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. motor home repair parts


    June 9, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Mika Ghant

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    June 9, 2021 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Social Media Marketing Consultants Near Me

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be interesting to read articles from other writers and practice something from their websites.


    June 9, 2021 at 09:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Nieves Toppi


    June 9, 2021 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Alona Golebiewski


    June 9, 2021 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Edgardo Folley

    Very good information. Lucky me I discovered your website by accident (stumbleupon). I have bookmarked it for later!

    June 9, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Yvette Milroy

    You're so interesting! I do not believe I've read through anything like this before. So nice to discover someone with some genuine thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality!

    June 9, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Social Media Marketing Specialist

    Your style is so unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.


    June 9, 2021 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Tyrone Ferriss

    You are so interesting! I don't think I've truly read through anything like this before. So good to discover somebody with unique thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!


    June 9, 2021 at 20:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Garfield Guereca

    Howdy! This post couldnít be written much better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I will send this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thank you for sharing!

    June 10, 2021 at 01:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Hubert Faby

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    June 10, 2021 at 01:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. rv repair near me


    June 10, 2021 at 02:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Kim Sondrup


    June 10, 2021 at 04:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Robbi Hodgkinson

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal site now 😉


    June 10, 2021 at 11:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Seymour Coach

    I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. I've got you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you postÖ


    June 10, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. rv repair near me

    You're so awesome! I do not suppose I have read a single thing like that before. So nice to discover another person with some unique thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!


    June 10, 2021 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Sheryl Sorgi

    I seriously love your website.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím trying to create my own personal website and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Appreciate it!

    June 10, 2021 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Desmond Konick

    I needed to thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to look at new things you postÖ


    June 10, 2021 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rv repair


    June 10, 2021 at 21:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Betsy Mcmilliam

    This is the perfect web site for anyone who wants to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need toÖHaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic that's been discussed for decades. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!


    June 10, 2021 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. aralen chloroquine

    what is hydroxychloroquine 200 mg buy chloroquine online hydroxichloraquine

    June 10, 2021 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Wes Lemar


    June 10, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Dudley Mcgurn

    Itís hard to come by knowledgeable people on this topic, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    June 10, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Sal Done

    Very good write-up. I definitely love this site. Thanks!


    June 11, 2021 at 02:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv repair near me now


    June 11, 2021 at 06:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Odessa Filosa


    June 11, 2021 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Armanda Preisler


    June 11, 2021 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. near me

    Can I simply say what a relief to find a person that genuinely knows what they're discussing on the net. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people must read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you're not more popular because you surely have the gift.


    June 11, 2021 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Tires Orange County

    I like reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!


    June 11, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Van Maintenance Shop Near Me


    June 11, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Handicapped Van Repair

    This is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise informationÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!


    June 11, 2021 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Sprinter Repair Shop


    June 11, 2021 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. rv restore and repair

    After looking into a handful of the blog articles on your website, I seriously appreciate your technique of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my website as well and tell me what you think.


    June 11, 2021 at 23:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. camper fiberglass repair

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon everyday. It's always useful to read content from other authors and practice something from their sites.


    June 12, 2021 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Van Technician Shop Near Me


    June 12, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Awning Orange County

    Good blog post. I absolutely love this site. Continue the good work!


    June 12, 2021 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Sprinter Van Front Wiper Rust Repair

    Right here is the right site for everyone who wishes to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need toÖHaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that's been written about for ages. Great stuff, just wonderful!


    June 12, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Mercedes Sprinter Repair Near Me W Ratings


    June 12, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. spectrum store near me

    I blog quite often and I truly appreciate your information. The article has truly peaked my interest. I will book mark your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.


    June 12, 2021 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Jodi Balcomb

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these Second Life authors and blogs


    June 12, 2021 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. printers near me

    May I simply say what a relief to uncover an individual who really understands what they're talking about on the internet. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people really need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.


    June 12, 2021 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. smoke shops near me

    Very good info. Lucky me I discovered your website by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!


    June 12, 2021 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. rheumatologist near me

    You've made some really good points there. I checked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    June 12, 2021 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.