You would think that the more exercise you do, the better your fertility will become. But did you know that too much exercise can cause issues with fertility? It’s true. In fact, women who are athletes or who exercise for long periods of time on a nearly daily basis can stop ovulating all together.
Many research studies have been conducted to find the effects of exercise, specifically both time and intensity, on women’s fertility. In this article, we will discuss what is the ideal way to exercise if we want to boost fertility and hence, the chances of conception.
Why does too much exercise result in infertility issues in women?
Some form of regular exercise is beneficial for everyone and we should put in at least 30 minutes every day to perform physical activities that raise our heartbeat. This is truly important for obese women and can improve not just their overall health but also their fertility.
However, women that maintain vigorous, near daily exercise regimens of about seven or more hours every week can face the problem of reduced fertility and decreased success rates with IVF. There are several mechanisms that can cause this including:
- Shortened post-ovulation phase with reduced levels of progesterone, which is an important hormone for successful implantation and pregnancy support
- Ovulatory dysfunction with reduced production of hormones such as estrogen, LH, and FSH
Exercising – The right way
Moderate exercise has been shown to be the best way to live a healthy life irrespective of gender. However, when you are trying to get pregnant and your weight falls under the normal BMI category, you must:
- Avoid vigorous and intense exercise for four plus hours in a week
- Instead, focus on gentle exercises such as swimming and walking for the rest of the time
- Yoga can greatly benefit your health, so instead of interval training, you can opt for yoga sessions
- Even gentler exercises can become strenuous if you are taking the difficult route like bicycling too fast and on hilly terrains
- Avoid exercises that increase your heart rate above the maximal predicted for your age such as HIIT, Cross Fit, Powerlifting, running, and racquetball as much as possible.
The American College of Sports Medicine defines moderate aerobic exercise based on your age predicted heart rate. To find that you, you should subtract your present age from 220. Take 64-76% of that number and that is your goal heart rate for moderate exercise. Anything more can strain your body and decrease your chances of getting pregnant. Walking, swimming, bicycling, and dancing are examples of some moderate exercises that can improve your fertility, decrease your stress, and increase your chances of getting pregnant on your own or with assistive reproductive techniques like IVF or IUI.
If you have tried conceiving for over a year naturally (or if you are 35 years old or older – 6 months; 40 or older – 3 months; or if you are not ovulating regardless of your age), you should consider seeking out infertility care. Reproductive Health & Wellness Center in Orange County, California is a full service fertility clinic. Orange County is between the San Diego and Los Angeles Metro area. Their certified and experienced fertility specialists can help you in increasing your chances of conception by combining various fertility wellness treatments such as acupuncture, lifestyle changes, therapy with state-of-the-art infertility treatments like IVF.