Winter Bad Habits That Impact Male Fertility


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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.

Hot Baths

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!

Lazy Days

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.

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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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.  


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”.


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.