Winter is coming – well in fact it’s already here! As the weather gets colder, and the days get shorter our habits and lifestyles tend to change and adapt. But could some of your winter habits be impacting your sperm health? Here are just four of the ways Winter could affect your fertility – and our tips on how to protect your swimmers this season.
When the winter months creep in and you spend your day battling the elements, there’s nothing like a warm bath, hot shower or even relaxing sauna session to warm the cockles in the evening. However, you do need to be careful about the amount of heat exposure you’re putting your testicles through. Heat can have quite an impact on your sperm health – and can affect both sperm concentration and motility. Sperm cells are healthier when they are in cool conditions (that’s why your balls hang outside of your body!)
The occasional bath is not going to cause infertility, but we would recommend limiting them to once or twice a week. If you’re trying to conceive and notice that your sperm count and motility aren’t exactly where you want to be, we would definitely give saunas and hot tubs a miss.
Another thing you can do to reduce the risk of heat damage is to keep your mobile phone and laptop away from your balls. These might not seem like the obvious sources of heat damage, but prolonged exposure to these pieces of tech can really take their toll on your testicles!
A bit like bears, we all tend to hibernate in the winter. This might not mean retreating into a cave for months, but we definitely tend to stay in more, become less active and walk less (Is anyone else guilty of driving 5 minutes to the house when the weather is rubbish?)
A sedentary lifestyle is not great for our sperm health. Not only does it mean that your spending a lot of time sitting or lying down (which increases the heat in your crotch area) but a lack of exercise can also contribute to an unhealthy BMI. Being overweight has often been linked to poor sperm health, and whilst many of us will put on a few pounds over the Winter if you’re on a fertility journey, this isn’t great news.
Exercise is great for your overall health and your fertility. If you’re lacking the motivation to work out in Winter, try to find something fun that you actually look forward to – like playing football or rugby with your mates – rather than putting pressure on yourself to do something intense and boring, just because it will look good on your fitness app.
December always brings a lot of Christmas cheer – in more ways than one! Whilst the occasional beer isn’t going to ruin your fertility, binge drinking is never good for your swimmers. A Danish study from 2014 found that drinking more than 5 units of alcohol in a week had a negative impact on sperm concentration, total sperm count, and sperm morphology. This link was most pronounced for men with a typical intake of more than 25 units/week – around 9-12 pints of beer.
Research shows that our drinking habits peak over the holiday season, so it’s worth being mindful of your boozing at this time of year. Try to limit yourself to a couple of pints a week and if you have an intense party season ahead it might be worth mixing up your usual beverages with a few low-alcohol options. We’ve rounded up our favorite alcohol-free beers here to help fuel good winter habits.
Lack of Sunlight
Vitamin D plays a vital role in male fertility – and guess where we get most of our Vitamin D from? The sun. Obviously, as the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting poorer, our access to sunlight is pretty minimal throughout the winter months. In fact, around 50% of adults have low levels of Vitamin D most of the year, and this number only increases when winter arrives.
Even if sunshine is in short supply, you can make the most of daylight by getting out and about in the middle of the day, so try to take a walk on your lunch break or in the morning once the sun comes up. Whilst the sun is one of the best sources of Vitamin D, there are certain foods that also carry the vitamin – including egg yolks and fish like tuna and salmon. You can also help boost your Vitamin D levels by taking supplements.