Exercise can improve your chances of conception. But how much is too much or too little and how do you know what exercise is best for you?
There are no hard and fast rules about the right amount of exercise to balance your hormones and help you conceive. The key is listening to your body and knowing what makes you feel good, without overdoing it. Here’s what doctors recommend:
- Consult with your doctor if you have medical conditions that may limit or prevent exercising. Pregnant women should consult their physicians before beginning any new exercise regimen.
- Women who are trying to conceive should talk with their doctors before beginning an exercise program. Especially if they have been sedentary for a long period of time.
- If you’re trying to get pregnant talk to your doctor before you start or change any exercise routine. They may recommend some aerobic activity such as walking three times per week.
The advice for those looking to get pregnant is to keep moving and stay at a healthy weight, rather than try to lose too much weight
You can exercise to lose weight if you need to but try not to lose too much too quickly. If you want to gain weight, exercise is also a good way to do it! Building strength and maintaining muscle mass are both helpful for fertility. They can help with low testosterone and estrogen levels. Moderate exercise is best, don’t overdo it, and also don’t stop exercising altogether. The right amount of exercise for fertility is different for everyone. It’s important that you find the right balance between not doing enough and doing too much.
A study found that women who regularly exercised had a 20% higher chance of conceiving each month compared to women who led more sedentary lifestyles.
The researchers examined the reproductive health habits of 1,200 pregnant women, including how much physical activity they participated in and whether they smoked or drank alcohol. They also kept track of how many minutes per week these women spent watching TV, reading newspapers or magazines and sitting down
The results showed that exercising for an average of 30 minutes three days per week significantly increased a woman’s chances for conception during any given menstrual cycle by 48%!
So, how exactly does exercise help fertility?
Regular exercise is great for your body and mind. It also improves circulation to the reproductive organs, lowers blood pressure and helps to maintain a healthy weight. It can also help you reduce stress levels. High cortisol levels can wreak havoc on your hormones, causing irregular periods, increasing blood pressure, and even preventing ovulation.
Exercise can also improve blood flow from the legs back into the pelvis which may increase hormone production in women with low progesterone levels associated with ovulation disorders such as luteal phase defect syndrome (LPD)
Another major benefit of exercise is the increase in antioxidants produced by working muscles. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that are released during normal functions such as breathing or eating. Too many free radicals can lead to aging and disease. Therefore low antioxidant levels affect fertility as well as overall wellness.
Women who did aerobic exercise also had higher concentrations of a hormone called relaxin in their bodies than women who didn’t exercise. Relaxin helps prepare the uterus for implantation if you become pregnant. The researchers concluded that this may explain why some women who exercise regularly have more success with fertility treatments than those who are less active.
Also read: 14 Tips for How to Get Pregnant
Types of Exercise that benefit fertility
There is no exercise that is bad for fertility but generally you want to aim for moderate exertion levels. Exercises such as swimming, yoga, walking, Pilates are all great examples of ideal types of exercise. Don’t be afraid to get your heart rate up.
If you have previously worked out or have a good level of fitness then it’s perfectly fine to continue with HIIT type training, running or more strenuous types of exercise. The key is knowing when you are doing too much. Competitive CrossFit or functional fitness competitions or marathon running might not be ideal if you are struggling to conceive. Or you may want to reduce the number of sessions you are doing a week. It’s important to remember that too much exercise can have negative effects on fertility as well. These includes low body fat percentages that can cause problems with ovulation-exercising and when to stop?
If you’re just starting an exercise routine, it’s best to start slowly so your body has time to adapt. You should also make sure that your heart rate stays within the target zone during each workout session. The first step is becoming familiar with how much physical activity is enough for you. And then setting goals for improvement over time! While there are no guarantees in life, regular exercise can go a long way toward making sure that when the time is right, you’ll be ready!
Rachel Sherriff is a qualified personal trainer and Founder of The Fertility Method, online courses to support your fertility. With courses in nutrition, yoga, Pilates and mindset
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