Hey guys! This month is all about exercise. Exercise can be good and bad for fertility, like everything in life it’s about balancing it. When our body is overworked, stressed or in constant motion it goes into a physical fight or flight type of situation. This can impact fertility in both men and women.
When we push our bodies physically we activate our stress hormones (adrenaline) which can affect the efficiency of your reproductive organs. With that being said, this is usually found in body builders, marathon runners and those who push themselves beyond their limits without taking the appropriate breaks. So, that doesn’t mean that you get to sit on your butt because “exercise will cause infertility”, sorry.
In men, this kind of intense workout seems to cause their body temperature to rise too high and kills of sperm which leads to low sperm counts. Especially in workouts like rowing or biking since the man is in a sitting position.
In women, it can cause an abnormal loss of body fat. A super learn body type interferes with the production of estrogen since up to 30% of your estrogen is produced in fat cells. Women with low body fat often don’t ovulate.
However, like I said before, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t exercise. If your daily life lacks exercise (or physical activity) then you are more prone to weight gain which can cause your body to produce too much estrogen. Excess weight can also produce an increased amount of insulin which can affect your hormone system too. If you are not physically active then adding an activity to your daily routine can be very beneficial for fertility (and life in general).
So the challenge is finding the middle ground and balancing your physical activities. This is super important because not only does it help with your fertility but it also sets you into a routine for when you do become pregnant. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but doing some sort of physical activity everyday will help your body support ovulation, conception and eventually pregnancy.
If you would classify yourself as the proverbial “couch potato”, then start small because you don’t want to overwork or stress your body. You can increase your overall activity by going on walks or hikes, bowling, riding a bike, parking further from the store when you go shopping or using the stairs instead of the elevator.
Cardio is great because it increases your blood flow which is vital for your reproductive health. Move enough to break a sweat and get your heart rate up but not so much that you get to the point of exhaustion.
Strength training will allow you to increase muscle mass which will support your reproductive organs by keeping everything supported and aligned. Plus it increases your stamina and strength.
Yoga and Pilates are gentle forms of exercise that will strengthen muscles AND increase blood flow (best of both worlds). Not to mention that they are also relaxing and a good de-stresser.
Before and after any form of physical activity it is super important that you allow your muscles to stretch to prevent injuries. This also allows your body to prepare for pregnancy and the subsequent labour and delivery.
Remember to trust your body. You are the only one that knows what your body needs. You know if you are working or body too hard or if you are being lazy (which is me a lot of the time).
Challenge yourself, start moving and listen to your body as it guides you through your journey.