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Effects of Aerobic, Resistance, and Combined Exercise on Markers of Male Reproduction in Healthy Human Subjects

A Randomized Controlled Trial

Hajizadeh Maleki, Behzad1; Tartibian, Bakhtyar2; Chehrazi, Mohammad3

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2019 - Volume 33 - Issue 4 - p 1130–1145
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002389
Original Research

Hajizadeh Maleki, B, Tartibian, B, and Chehrazi, M. Effects of aerobic, resistance, and combined exercise on markers of male reproduction in healthy human subjects: a randomized controlled trial. J Strength Cond Res 33(4): 1130–1145, 2019—The effects of moderate intensity treadmill exercise training (MI), resistance training (RT), and combined treadmill + resistance training (CT) on markers of male reproductive function including seminal markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, and semen quality and sperm DNA integrity were evaluated in healthy human subjects. A total of 376 healthy sedentary male volunteers (aged 25–40) were screened and 282 were randomized into 4 treatment groups: MI (n = 71), RT (n = 71), CT (n = 71), and nonexercise (NON-EX, n = 70) groups for an experimental period of 24 weeks. After the intervention, compared with the NON-EX group, all 3 MI, RT, and CT exercise modalities showed significantly reduced body mass, fat percent, waist circumference, reactive oxygen species, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor-α and improved maximal oxygen uptake (V[Combining Dot Above]O2max), progressive motility, sperm morphology, sperm concentration and sperm DNA integrity, as indicated by a decrease of percentage of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase–mediated fluorescein-dUTP nick end labeling–positive sperm cells (p ≤ 0.05). Body mass index, semen volume, number of spermatozoa, superoxide dismutase, catalase, total antioxidant capacity, malondialdehyde, and 8-isoprostane improved significantly in the MI and CT groups (p ≤ 0.05) but not significantly in the RT group (p > 0.05). In summary, all 3 MI, RT, and CT interventions attenuate seminal markers of inflammation and oxidative stress and improve body composition, semen quality parameters, and sperm DNA integrity in the studied population. In respect to all the aspects studied, those men who took part in MI intervention had the best results. Considering the seminological parameters, however, CT had a synergistic effect and was superior over the other interventions used.

1Department of Sports Medicine, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany;

2Department of Sport Injuries, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Allameh Tabataba'i University, Tehran, Iran; and

3Department of Epidemiology and Reproductive Health, Reproductive Epidemiology Research Center, Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, ACECR, Tehran, Iran

Address correspondence to Behzad Hajizadeh Maleki,

Copyright © 2019 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.