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Overweight? You Could Be Down for the (Sperm) Count

Overweight? You Could Be Down for the (Sperm) Count

In 1974, at age 60 Jack La Lanne swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf, handcuffed and shackled, towing a 1,000 pound boat. That’s mucho macho! Fortunately you don’t have to go to such extremes to be a healthy guy with healthy sperm. But if you’re packin’ even a few extra pounds (around 74% of guys in North America are overweight), your sperm count could use some help!

Related: Too much of this could be sabotaging your sperm count.

A study from Stanford University found the larger a man's waist circumference and the higher his body mass index (BMI), the lower his semen level, and therefore his sperm count. Men with a healthy BMI -- somewhere between 18.5 to 24.9 -- typically ejaculate about 3.3ml of sperm-containing semen. Men with a higher BMI produce less semen for sperm to swim in -- around 2.8ml. And you can only get so many swimmers into that size pool!

So, to increase your sperm count, here's what you need to do:

  1. Eat 300-500 fewer calories a day. That equals about 1 American beer (145), a chocolate chip cookie (160), and one cup of sugary cereal (110) with 1/2 cup of whole milk (75). And eliminate the Five Food Felons.
  2. Get sweatin’! The most effective, least expensive way is a walking routine with interval training. So put on your walking shoes (10,000 steps a day is your goal) and walk 100 steps a minute for 10-15 minutes; then go for 2.5 minutes of intense walking --130 steps per minute. Repeat as often as you can. Find out why strength training boosts sperm count.

Related: Try this male fertility improvement plan.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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