Thinking of hopping onto a bike this weekend? But you then start to worry: The weather’s too hot! What kind of eccentric face am I giving on that insane incline?
And will cycling affect my fertility and sexual health?
First things first: being inactive can lead to infertility issues as well, so it’s great that you’re getting some form of exercise.
Gentlemen, rest easy: there’s no direct link between cycling and infertility.
Research stating otherwise often study an extreme group of participants like Ironman triathletes (who are required to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles, then run 26 miles in succession). Lower levels of sexual health in these individuals might also be because of the vigor of their punishing training regimes, and such.
So recreational cyclists need not worry – those scare-mongering studies probably don’t apply to you!
If you still need to put your mind at ease, the largest study to date of 5200 cyclists found no link between between fertility and cycling for up to 8.5 hours a week. If anything, those who cycled 4-6 hours a week actually enjoyed greater fertility!
That being said, long periods on the saddle will reduce blood flow and cause soreness, which some researchers then link to eventual erectile dysfunction. But with a properly-fitted saddle, this reduction in blood flow is forgivable and won’t affect your sexual health.
Ladies, are you spared?
Perhaps you’re experiencing decreased genital sensation due to soreness from riding. And there’s some evidence that orgasmic contractions betters the chances of the sperm and egg meeting up. So draw the link.
But this risk factor is easily modifiable. Raise the height of your bike’s handlebars so you’re not leaning forward as much. This way, you’re not putting that much pressure on the soft tissue of your lady parts.
The friction caused by your body and the saddle can cause your body to heat up while cycling, which causes discomfort and is known to kill sperm. Use wider saddles or ones with cut-outs in them to help cool it down.
Alternatively, use no-nose saddles so you’re putting the pressure on your sit bones rather than your genital area.
Avoid slamming your brakes or any unnecessary abrupt actions that cause even more friction between your genital area and the saddle. If this means not taking to the busy roads of Singapore, there are tons of stunning cycling routes all around Singapore too!
Wear pants with sufficient padding to minimize friction, which’ll give you greater comfort as well.
In the grand scheme of things, the health benefits of cycling outweigh the potential hazards. It’s all ride!
By Pinky Chng, August 2016