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A Journal on Internal Medicine and Pharmacology

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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2012 February;171(1):27-33

language: English

Effects of short-term exercise on reproductive hormones and semen quality

Maeshima E., Tanaka Y., Matsuda N., Harada Y.

Department of Health and Sport Management, Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, Osaka, Japan


Aim. A large number of studies have been conducted on reproductive endocrine dysfunction in exercising women. However, the effects of exercise on sexual function in male athletes are still controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of exercise at different intensities on sexual function in university students.
Methods. Fifteen healthy male university students were enrolled. The subjects performed exercise on a bicycle ergometer. They were divided randomly into a 40% group who exercised at 40% of their maximum heart rate (HRmax) and an 80% group who exercised at 80% of HRmax. Exercise was performed for 30 minutes per session three times a week for one month. Body composition and the levels of hormones (luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, total testosterone, and free testosterone) were measured on the morning of the first day of the exercise program and on the morning of the day after the last session. Semen samples were also collected to assess sperm parameters.
Results. Body composition and endocrine parameters, except for the luteinizing hormone level, did not change after exercise. In the 40% group, the luteinizing hormone level was significantly decreased after exercise (p<0.05). However, there was no decrease of testosterone or free testosterone, so it was concluded that the change of LH did not have any adverse endocrine effects. The semen volume of the 80% group and the total sperm counts of all subjects were significantly increased after exercise (p<0.05).
Conclusion. Regardless of its intensity, exercise may have a favorable effect on semen quality in university students.

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