Guest Post by Sierra Weininger
Trying to conceive? Fitting in exercise should not be an extra stress. While having a regular “gym date” is nice, your fitness routine can be as simple as taking a walk. Having the perfect amount of activity in your life can have several great benefits : boost mood, promote heart health, and most importantly, help fertility.
If you don’t move much now, maybe it’s time!
You can start with something simple. Going on a brisk walk, jogging in the pool or a taking a beginner’s yoga class is an easy way to start. Any amount of moving around can help get your body ready! It can also reduce symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and help you lose weight. (Find out more on weight and fertility and PCOS) (Another plus to working out is building endurance for labor and delivery when you do get pregnant!)
Don’t be afraid to try something new! Take a hike! Go for a swim! Take a bike ride! Go window shopping at a quick pace. (It’s harder to spend money that way.)#Exercise can help or hinder your #fertility. #tryingtoconceive Read more here: bit.ly/2pPKUAZ Click To Tweet
Because exercise is so important, finding a balance can be tough. A 2009 study from Norway found the sweet spot! There is a decrease in fertility when women are active for less than 15 minutes a day or more than 60 minutes. The ideal amount is from 16-60 minutes. Workouts that leave you slightly out of breath are perfect for making you sweat without overdoing it!
If you are used to working out, perfect! If you have a steady workout routine, awesome! Just try not to increase your time or intensity. Maybe put the marathon training or triathlon on hold. There are several studies, such as this one, that show extreme exercise can lead to reduced fertility. A result of high impact exercise can be menstrual irregularity, making conceiving more difficult.
Exercise can affect men too!
While women may focus on getting their bodies ready for a baby, men can benefit from exercise too. Dads-to-be can have improved sperm counts and motility with regular exercise, according to this study. Erectile dysfunction, one cause of infertility, can be improved with both exercise and weight loss, according to this study
On the other hand, extreme workout schedules could affect sperm DNA.
This study found that triathletes had much higher levels of sperm DNA fragmentation, which can lead to fertility problems. While “recreational athletes” have improved or neutral effects on their sperm, athletes with more intense exercise duration or loads are more at risk for negative changes in sperm quality.
The Bottom Line: Just the “right” amount of exercise can boost fertility!
Keep in mind to always talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Sierra Weininger is a Senior Nutrition student at Eastern Michigan University.
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