For years, overprotective mothers have warned their sons that too much TV will rot their brains -- but it could also be causing serious damage 'downstairs', if the latest scientific research is to be believed.
TV picture from Shutterstock
According to a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, watching more than 20 hours of television per week can obliterate a man's sperm count by almost half. (For the mensuration fans out there, that's a whopping 8 million sperm per millimetre.)
The study analysed the sperm count of self-confessed couch potatoes between the ages of 18 and 22 and compared it to males in the same age bracket who led more active lifestyles.
Those who watched the most TV had a sperm count that was 44 percent lower than those who watched the least. The amount of TV viewing also seemed to counteract the beneficial effects of exercise, the report claimed.
Perhaps less surprisingly, the study also found that high sperm counts were linked to regular intense exercise. Of the males analysed, those who did 15 or more hours of moderate to vigorous exercise every week had sperm counts that were 73 percent higher than those who exercised little.
It's worth noting that the size of the study was quite small, consisting of just 189 men from Rochester, New York. Over half the men were within the normal range for weight for their height, and three out of four were non-smokers.
The study cautions that sperm count is not necessarily linked to fertility, which is something I can attest to -- I watch a ridiculous amount of TV and my wife seems to get pregnant if I so much as sneeze.
Nevertheless, if having a lot of sperm is important to you, you might want to rethink that Game of Thrones/Breaking Bad/Jenna Jameson marathon.
Physical activity and television watching in relation to semen quality in young men [British Journal Of Sports Medicine]