Gym Junkie vs Couch Potato… Finding The Right Balance Of Exercise For Successful Conception
Regular exercise is important for fertility, but it must be consistent and of a moderate nature. Studies have shown that vigorous exercise can play havoc with hormonal balance, alter the menstrual cycle, throw ovulation out of kilter and in some cases can even stop a woman from having periods.
Regular, moderate exercise has been shown to promote healthy pregnancy preparation by:
- Regulating your hormonal balance
- Strengthening muscles to help support a growing fetus
- Increasing circulation for a healthy heart
- Helping to reduce stress and anxiety
- Keeping troubling digestive issues in check
- Promoting elimination of excess hormones and toxins from the body
Many couples preparing for conception jump into healthier lifestyle choices that include embracing a healthy eating plan, moderate alcohol and sugar consumption, detoxification, reducing stress and including exercise as their weekly routine.
Some Favorite Exercises For Fertility
Always do what feels comfortable, move enough to increase your heart rate, but take care not to exhaust your body as this can be a stumbling block to maximizing fertility.
- Brisk walking or light jogging is good for the cardiovascular system, increases the oxygen to the lungs, and the blood flow to the heart, which also increases the blood flow to the reproductive organs. If you are not really used to exercising, begin with 15 minutes per day, and work up to 30-60 minutes at least 3 times a week.
- Yoga and Pilates are moderate forms of exercise which promote healthy blood flow and help to strengthen core muscles. Core muscles are the pelvic and abdominal muscles which need to be strong for childbearing and childbirth. There are different forms of yoga, and specific poses that can target and strengthen core muscles directly related to childbearing.
- Research has indicated that natural movement such as stretching helps to keep the body flexible, and properly aligned for pregnancy. This allows the body to regulate muscle function during pregnancy, labour and delivery, while reducing the risk of any pelvic issues such as strained ligaments or painful muscles.
Choose The Movement That Makes Your Heart Sing
The bottom line is choosing a form of exercise that you truly enjoy. It doesn’t matter if your thing is swimming, jumping on a trampoline, dancing, swinging your hips with a hula hoop or paddle boarding! Just get started and keep moving with moderate, regular exercise to naturally prepare your body for conception and boost fertility.
Too Much Of A Good Thing? Over-Exercise Can Prevent Conception
Did you know that extreme workouts may actually prevent you from conceiving? When stress hormones such as adrenaline are overly activated, it sends a ripple effect of altered hormonal levels through the body, which ultimately also affects the function of the reproductive organs. Decreased fertility is often seen in athletes who constantly push their bodies to the limits.
Higher intensity exercise in excess of 60 minutes can have a suppressive effect on your hormonal regulation and your immune system. Because of this, if you are trying to get pregnant we encourage you to keep the majority of your higher intensity workouts under the 60-minute mark.
Low Body Fat Is Linked To Failure To Ovulate And Menstruate
In women, vigorous activities and athleticism may lead to a drastic loss of body fat and although being super lean may be desirable, it is common that women with little or no body fat often fail to ovulate or menstruate.
The good news is that most athletes do not have any real problems getting pregnant. Those who have trained most intensively over the years, often go on to conceive after lowering their physical activities to a more moderate level, which results in an increase in body fat, reduction in stress hormones and improvement in fertility.
Exercise And Fertility - The Connection
- According to Dr. Raul Artal, chair of Women’s Health at St Louis University, US, vigorous activity alone does not cause infertility. It is more a combination of altered hormonal levels and being underweight that causes irregular cycles and ovulation problems. Getting the body weight up will help to deal with fertility challenges.
- Regular exercise can improve fertility if you are struggling with the polycystic ovarian syndrome – PCOS.
- For overweight or obese women, any type of exercise will help improve fertility. If you have a sedentary lifestyle and are not inclined to exercise, putting in a moderate workout plan will be extremely beneficial.
- Among average weight women, vigorous and extreme exercising may be causing more harm than good. Keep the majority of your higher intensity workouts under the 60-minute mark.
- For improved reproductive health, make a definitive plan to exercise moderately for 30-60 minutes at least 3 days per week.
The Baby Builders Exercise And Conception Recap
- Many couples preparing for conception jump into healthier lifestyle choices that include embracing a healthy eating plan, moderate alcohol and sugar consumption, detoxification, reducing stress and regular moderate exercise.
- Too little - or too much - exercise can make it harder to become pregnant.
- For overweight or obese women, any type of exercise leading to weight loss will help improve fertility.
- Women who constantly push their bodies to the limits with excess and vigorous exercise can experience an increase in stress hormones and/or extremely low body fat causing challenges with ovulation and or menstruation.
- Choose the movement that makes your heart sing. The bottom line is choosing a form of exercise that you truly enjoy.
- Make a definitive plan to exercise moderately for at least 30-60 minutes at a time, at least 3 days per week.
- The solution is to strike a balance – and keep on exercising for the best outcome to reach your conception goals.