Fitness and Wellness

If a Father Exercises, His Children Will Have Better Metabolic Health

We already knew the benefits of exercise for one’s health. Now, it has been discovered that the positive effects of sport can be passed on to the next generation through sperm, and that the health of children is not only influenced by the mother having a healthy life during pregnancy, but that the father’s lifestyle also affects the metabolic health of his future children, even when they grow up and are adults. Thus, according to a study of rodents by the Ohio State University School of Medicine at Wexner Medical Center (USA), published in the journal Diabetes, exercise males breed healthier offspring.

A previous study of this group of researchers, also conducted in mice, had found that when mothers exercise, their offspring obtain benefits in their metabolism, and therefore this new research wanted to test whether the physical activity of fathers could influence the metabolic health of their offspring.

Practicing a low-intensity sport one month before conception can help improve the genetics of sperm.

For this purpose, for three weeks they fed male mice with a normal or high fat diet. Some of the animals barely moved, while others ran on a wheel an average of almost 6 km a day. After that time, the mice had offspring that followed a standard diet and led a sedentary life for a year. The results of this experiment showed that the progeny of the exercise mice, when they reached adulthood, metabolized glucose better, with lower insulin levels, were thinner and had less body fat.

Moderate exercise one month before conceiving
They found that physical exercise had modified the RNA profile of the father’s sperm and prevented poor nutrition from affecting the offspring. What researchers don’t know at the moment is which small-chain RNA-which is a kind of RNA-causes these metabolic improvements. They believe that small RNAs could pass environmental information from parents to the next generation, but this is a hypothesis they have not yet demonstrated.

Researchers believe that these data can be extrapolated to humans, and even advise boys who want to be fathers to play a moderate-intensity sport one month before conception to improve the genetics of their sperm. In fact, obesity in males is known to affect sperm count and motility, testosterone levels, and decrease the number of live births.

Some studies have also proven that the children of women who have suffered from obesity in pregnancy are more likely to suffer from this disease and other metabolic pathologies, such as diabetes, in adulthood.