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Table 2 Effects of sports and physical activity on human semen parameters: studies reporting effects of physical activity and sports on male fertility

From: Sport, doping and male fertility

Reference Population studied Results
Vaamonde et al. [7] 12 high-level triathletes after 2-weeks period of tapering (lowered training volume) ↑ DNA fragmentation
↑ round cells
Vaamonde et al. [57] 16 physically active subjects Following more strenuous exercise:
↓ sperm count, ↓ morphology
14 water polo players
15 “Ironman” triathletes
Vaamonde et al. [66] Case report - triathlete ↑ DNA fragmentation
↑ round cells
↓total antioxidant capacity
Vaamonde et al. [58] 16 physically active subjects ↑ sperm count and morphology, ↑ FSH, LH and T in physically active men
15 sedentary men
Maleki et al. [59] 280 men, randomized to moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT), high-intensity continuous training (HICT), high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or no-exercise ↑ semen quality and DNA integrity, ↓ markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in all exercise groups compared to no-exercise; best results for MICT compared to HICT and HIIT
Maleki et al. [60] Semen samples from 56 elite athletes, 52 recreationally active men and 53 non-active men ↑ SOD, catalase and total antioxidant capacity and ↓ 8-Isoprostane, ROS and MDA in recreationally active men;
↓ SOD, catalase and total antioxidant capacity and ↑ 8-Isoprostane, ROS and MDA in elite athletes
Rosety et al. [62] 90 obese adults, randomized to either intervention group (45 men, 16-week aerobic training - treadmill) and control group (45 men). ↑ testosterone, sperm concentration, motility and morphology in intervention group
Maleki et al. [63] 433 Infertile men, randomly assigned to high-intensity exercise (n = 218) or control (n = 215) groups ↓ IL-6, TNF-α, ROS, MDA, and ↑ SOD, catalase, and total antioxidant capacity in high-exercise group
Maleki et al. [64] 24 non-professional male cyclists, undergoing 16 weeks of intensive training ↑ sperm ROS and MDA and ↓SOD, catalase and total antioxidant capacity, persisting up to 30 days post-exercise
Wise et al. [69] 4565 semen samples from 2261 men undergoing ART ↓ sperm concentration and motility in men bicycling ≥5 h/wk
Jozkow et al. [8] 177 young “lean, educated, and physically active” healthy males ↑ % immotile sperm in physical exercise (3rd – 4th quartile)
Maleki [61] 419 sedentary infertile men, randomized to either exercise (n = 210) or no exercise (n = 209) ↓ IL-1b, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, ROS, MDA, 8-isoprostane and ↑ sperm integrity, SOD, catalase, total antioxidant capacity and pregnancy rate in exercise group