Conceptual Smarts: Turn Off the TV, and 6 More Baby-Making Tips For Men

By Alyssa Jung

If you’re trying to get pregnant, switch off the television. So say researchers who found a link between sperm count and time spent with the clicker in hand.

A study by the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that men who watched 20 hours of TV a week had a 44 percent lower sperm count than those who watched almost no television. Men who exercised for at least 15 hours a week had a sperm count 73 percent higher than those who put in five hours or less at the gym weekly.

Researchers took into account factors like diet, stress levels and smoking, and they say the study is one of the first to suggest a link between fertility and physical activity. Since scrotal temperature affects the quality of sperm (experts suggest wearing boxers instead of briefs and avoiding tight pants), researchers think the prolonged sitting involved in heavy TV viewing could be to blame for a rise in temperature below the belt, as well as an increase in oxidative stress levels, which could play a role in infertility.

This isn’t the first health risk associated with watching too much TV. A 2011 study found extensive television watching could put you at greater risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and premature death.

To ensure the roughly 100 million sperm produced daily are healthy, consider these 6 doctor-recommended tips:

-Eat foods rich in folate, Vitamin C, zinc and Vitamin E.

-Ditch the fatty snacks, which have been linked to lower sperm count.

-Stay away from tobacco, alcohol and drugs.

-Skip the hot tub.

-Avoid stress.

-Discuss any medications you take with your doctor.

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