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The Connection Between Exercise and Fertility: What You Need to Know

Exercise and fertility are topics often intertwined, raising questions about their relationship and potential effects. This article delves into how exercise can influence fertility in both men and women.

Exercise can boost fertility through several mechanisms, including hormonal regulation, weight management, enhanced insulin sensitivity, stress mitigation, semen parameter enhancement, testosterone regulation, spermatogenesis and blood flow, and mitigation of sedentary lifestyle effects.

In women, regular exercise can help regulate hormonal profiles, including gonadotropins, estrogen, and progesterone. The interplay of these hormones is crucial for follicular development, ovulation, and the establishment of a receptive uterine environment.

Maintenance of a healthy weight through exercise has also been associated with improved ovulatory function. Aberrations in body mass index (BMI), both excessive and insufficient, can disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, leading to anovulation and irregular menstrual cycles.

Physical activity can also enhance insulin sensitivity, which positively affects ovarian function. Reduced insulin resistance mitigates the risk of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that can lead to anovulation and fertility challenges.

Regular exercise can also reduce stress levels through the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the release of endorphins. Diminished chronic stress levels alleviate the potential inhibition of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion, promoting regular ovulatory patterns.

In men, controlled physical activity has demonstrated a positive correlation with enhanced semen parameters, including sperm concentration, motility, and morphology.

Exercise, particularly resistance training, has also been linked to elevated testosterone levels in males. Adequate testosterone concentrations are necessary for spermatogenesis, and exercise-induced hormonal shifts may bolster sperm production.

Physical activity can also improve blood circulation, fostering an oxygen-rich environment conducive to spermatogenesis. Increased blood flow to the testes assists in nutrient transport and waste removal, vital for efficient sperm development. Engaging in regular exercise can also counter the negative impact of sedentary habits on male fertility by promoting hormonal balance and circulatory efficiency.

For both genders, engaging in regular exercise confers systemic advantages such as weight regulation, cardiovascular health, and metabolic stability.

These factors collectively contribute to a conducive physiological milieu for conception.

Exercise is also known to ameliorate psychological stress and elevate mood states. Reduced psychological distress positively influences the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, favorably affecting reproductive hormone profiles.

While exercise can have favorable effects on fertility, an individualized approach that considers factors such as exercise type, intensity, and underlying health conditions is prudent. Consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable to tailor exercise regimens to your needs.


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  2. Minas A, Fernandes ACC, Maciel Júnior VL, Adami L, Intasqui P, Bertolla RP. Influence of physical activity on male fertility. Andrologia. 2022 Aug;54(7):e14433. doi: 10.1111/and.14433. Epub 2022 Apr 12. PMID: 35415898.

  3. Jóźków P, Rossato M. The Impact of Intense Exercise on Semen Quality. Am J Mens Health. 2017 May;11(3):654-662. doi: 10.1177/1557988316669045. Epub 2016 Sep 19. PMID: 27645515; PMCID: PMC5675222.

  4. Minhal Mussawar, Ashley A. Balsom, Julia O. Totosy de Zepetnek, Jennifer L. Gordon, The effect of physical activity on fertility: a mini-review, F&S Reports, Volume 4, Issue 2, 2023, Pages 150-158, ISSN 2666-3341, (


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