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Winter Wellness Ideas from Scandinavia

When it comes to Winter wellness, no one does it better than the Scandinavians – and as a company founded by guys from Denmark, we want to share the wisdom with you!

Whether it’s getting outside in the fresh (but cold) air, or making the most of resting at home, Scandinavians are famous for their balance, health and seasonal approach to wellness.

The cool thing is that many of these practices aren’t only great for your physical and mental health – but your fertility too.

 

Friluftsliv – Open-Air Living

Friluftsliv – which literally translates as “free air life” – is a phrase coined by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen in his 1859 poem On the Heights, and for many Scandinavians, it’s a way of life.
Getting out of the house and spending time in the great outdoors is so ingrained in Norwegian culture that it’s even factored into their work weeks!

In the Winter months, it can be tempting to completely hibernate, but Friluftsliv encourages you to connect with nature, whatever the weather. It’s also not about a particular activity, so whether you enjoy hiking up a mountain or cycling in the woods, you can find a Friluftsliv vibe that suits you.

Many studies have shown the multitude of benefits that spending time in nature has for our physical and mental health and there are even some experts that immersing ourselves in green spaces can help support our sperm health!

 

Hygge – Enjoying Simple Pleasures

Probably the most famous Scandi wellness trend (aside from buying your bed at IKEA) is Hygge. Hygge is a Danish word that roughly translates as ‘coziness’ but the concept has got slightly confused as its popularity has soared. Many people would associate hygge with warm blankets and hot chocolate (and that can certainly play a part!) but in Denmark, it’s really all about the coziness you feel enjoying simple pleasures with old friends.

When it comes to Hygge, being present and slowing down is the name of the game – and these principles can support your well-being and your fertility. Our fast-paced technology-driven, modern lives are not conducive to healthy sperm (and are part of the reason sperm count is slowly declining on a global scale) so hunkering down with good friends or a good book – and leaving your phone out of the equation – is definitely a winter wellness activity you should try!

 

Morgondopp – Morning Dip

A Morgondopp – or a morning dip – is the Swedish tradition of throwing yourselves in some (usually very cold!) water first thing in the morning.

Whilst not all of us have Sweden’s beautiful coastline to dip in, cold water therapy is growing in popularity and seems to have many benefits for men’s health – including reducing blood pressure and improving cognitive function. The jury is still out as to whether cold water therapy can actually improve your sperm health but there are no signs to say it could harm it – so Morgondopp’s are ExSeed-approved!

Even if you don’t fancy cold plunging, doing some form of physical activity first thing in the morning is great for your well-being. Morning sunlight exposure helps to regulate your hormones and improve your sleep quality, which are both good news for fertility!

 

Päntsdrunk – Drinking in your pants!

When we heard about the more modern Finnish tradition – we had to include it on this list! Now technically ‘Päntsdrunk’ is all about getting drunk at home in your underwear – which probably isn’t a Winter wellness activity we would generally recommend if you are trying to conceive – intense or regular alcohol consumption can hurt sperm health after all.

But there is a lot to be said about hanging out in your underwear at home – especially if that underwear is loose boxers. Tight trousers and underwear that constrict our testicles can make things hot around the crotch and increase the risk of heat damage in our sperm cells, so take a leaf out of Finland’s book and get them off as soon as you get home!

 

Lagom – Balance

Probably the most important Scandinavian wellness trend to lean into is Lagom – a Swedish term that means “not too little, not too much” or “just the right amount” Lagom is all about balance – which is something we all need when on a fertility journey.

It can be so tempting to take our health and wellness to the extreme – especially if you’re struggling to conceive. But forcing yourself to work out every day or cutting everything from your diet aside from spinach and kale is never going to be sustainable. When it comes to supporting your sperm health, making lifestyle changes you can stick to past Winter and throughout the year is going to be way more beneficial for your physical and mental health, so don’t push yourself too hard or beat yourself up if you have the odd beer or takeaway!

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Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.

Stress

Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.

Nutrition

Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Vegetables
Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.

Heat

Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.

BMI

There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  

Alcohol

A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.

Age

Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.