Many women exercise for fertility while trying to fall pregnant. There is no reason why women shouldn’t continue exercising during pregnancy or when they are trying to conceive. The problem doesn’t lie in exercising itself. It’s all about getting enough calories in to balance the energy you’re using up when engaging in exercise or other activities and not overdoing it.
The benefits of exercise for fertility
- Reduced stress – stress not only affect your overall well-being and health but can also influence your body’s capacity of conceiving. While stress may not be directly causing infertility, it can influence us to resort to unhealthy habits that contribute to infertility i.e. smoking, drinking and not eating healthy foods.
- Weight loss – numerous studies have shown that woman who are obese often experience reproductive issues and once they do fall pregnant, they are at a higher risk of delivery complications and miscarriage.
- Better sleep – having sleep problems can’t directly influence your infertility but a lack of sleep is associated to obesity which can influence fertility. Exercising is an excellent way of promoting a good night’s rest particularly when you do so in the morning. Researchers believe that when you exercise in the morning it can affect your circadian rhythms so that you feel more alert during the day but fall into a deep sleep at night.
It is a good idea to start a regular exercising regime before trying to conceive as it can help you feel better throughout your pregnancy, as it can help you feel more energized and provide your body with more stamina for labor, plus you can lose the baby weight faster. Exercising may even have a positive effect on your fertility if you are struggling to conceive as a result of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) or are overweight. Just make sure you are not overdoing it and find an exercise routine that fits you best.
Can exercise negatively affect conception?
While it is great to exercise for fertility you need to bear in mind that exercising can also have a negative effect if you are not vigilant about eating enough of the right foods to provide your body with what enough fuel to burn calories through exercise while staying healthy.
Studies revealed that with the frequent occurrence of menstrual dysfunction issues among ovulatory women a high likelihood of energy deficit is possible. The best way to avoid this and maintain a healthy cycle is to stick to a healthy diet with enough calorie intake to account for activity levels. If you need to gain weight to regain a healthy cycle, it usually is not an exorbitant amount. Five or ten pounds may be all that stands between infertility and fertility.
What role does your weight plays when it comes to fertility?
Fertility can be influenced by weight. Being obese or overweight can make it more problematic to fall pregnant. It doesn’t necessarily get in the way of being able to conceive, but you may be at a higher risk of experiencing complications relating to pregnancy. However, when it comes to fertility, being the right weight is a bigger issue for concern.
Knowing your body mass (BMI) combined with the appropriate exercise plan can assist your body to reach the optimum state for pregnancy.
How do you know if you’re doing too much exercising?
Some studies revealed that exercising has a positive effect on fertility, while others have shown that too much vigorous exercising may reduce fertility levels. There are no precise guidelines for women who are trying to fall pregnant. Every woman is different and knows what her body is capable of. There are general exercise guidelines for seniors, pregnant ladies or when you’re trying to lose weight.
These signs are indicators that you’re probably overdoing it:
- Missed periods
Too much exercising can contribute to irregular or missed periods. If you’ve always had irregular periods then this may not be due to exercising but if your cycle has changed and you have been doing exercise at a higher rate, it may be a good idea to cut back on your workouts to see if things improve.
- Exercising for more than seven hours a week
Some studies have indicated that working out for more than seven hours a week, may influence fertility negatively.
- Indicators of over-training
When you’re over-training, it can put your body under a lot of extra stress. If you’re still having your cycle, be on the look-out for signs of over-training that include fatigue, insomnia, soreness that is not going away and poor performance.
Best exercises for fertility
High-intensity workouts tend to get in the way of fertility, instead of promoting it. Instead of your regular workout, rather opt for more restrained exercises like:
- Tai chi
If you’re new to exercising, it is vital to take it slow at first and remain consistent with your fitness targets. According to The Fertility Society of Australia, working out three times a week for an hour can improve the chances of implantation. Sticking to a regular program, however, is essential. Ideally, you should be working your way up to at least a 30-minute daily workout. This guideline can be followed regardless of your current weight.
If you are overweight presently, you can start with a 10-minute workout of modest exercising.
If you’re trying to conceive but you also love doing your workouts, you can still do both but think about lowering the intensity of your exercise regime. Stick to less intense exercises. General fitness not only benefits your overall health, it also boosts your chances of conception as well as promoting a healthier pregnancy, delivery and baby. Regular exercise can help manage your weight and lower glucose and blood pressure levels. You’ll feel more energized during the day and sleep better during the nights. Keep exercising but know your own body. It is never beneficial to overdo it and end up doing more damage than good.
Finally, it’s imperative to take into consideration that fertility is a complex issue. While exercising can influence your fertility, other factors such as diet, hormones and your age can also play a role. If you’re still struggling to conceive despite following a healthy lifestyle, it is advisable to book and appointment with your OB-GYN.