Day 8 - How Active Are You & Why It Matters for Fertility Health

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Today we begin a new week in the 31 Day Fertility Care Challenge focused on Exercise.

We are all aware of the wide-ranging benefits of physical exercise, but with our busy lives, it is easy to forget, and easy to put it off until we’ve finished the 100 things on our to-do list.

But staying in shape and keeping active has been known to be beneficial to fertility so we need to evaluate ourselves and see if we need to move our body more.

Some of the Benefits of Regular Exercise

  • Regulates blood sugar levels which in turn increases energy levels
  • Helps you to lose weight or maintain your body weight
  • Increases fitness & strength
  • Oxygenates the body and increases blood flow to supply the reproductive organs with essential oxygen.
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Alleviates symptoms of PMS
  • Releases endorphins so that you are less likely to feel depressed
  • Relieves stress and reduces anxiety
  • Promotes relaxation and better night’s sleep
  • Increases muscle and reduces excess fat
  • Prepares the body for pregnancy

According to Fitness Magazine, some preliminary research suggests that regular workouts may actually improve reproductive function: A study in Obstetrics & Gynecology concluded that women who exercised 30 minutes or more daily had a reduced risk of infertility due to ovulation disorders.

On the other hand, some data links too much vigorous exercise with lowered fertility, as both a 2009 study in Human Reproduction and a Harvard study of elite athletes found.

There have not been controlled studies on the exact amount of exercise women should do in order to improve their fertility health.  There are, however, recommendations by doctors for women.

Remember, before starting an exercise regimen, you need to consult your doctor. 

Exercise Recommendations for Fertility Health

  • If you are normal weight, you should aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (you break a sweat and are winded but can still speak in short phrases) five days a week.

Strenuous exercise more than three times a week can have a negative effect on your fertility health, especially if you are trying to conceive.

  • Under- or overweight women should seek evaluation from a certified fitness professional, like an exercise physiologist or trainer, to tailor a program based on their energy input and output.

If you are exercising five or more times a week, it is recommended that you cut it back to three times a week.

  • If your cycle is irregular or you haven't conceived after a few months, cut back further on exercise.  The stress of vigorous exercise can have a negative effect on reproductive hormone production and fertility.
  • If you are overweight, gradually increase your exercise.  Aim for 60 minutes of cardio five times a week and strength training for 30 minutes three times a week.  You will need to take it slowly.

If you are not used to exercising regularly, avoid going full force into an intense fitness program.  Find an activity that you enjoy and that will build up your fitness level gradually. 

Just like we take baby steps to better nutrition, we take baby steps to better exercise.

Don't forget to Share with others.  You can join the 31 Day Fertility Care Challenge at any time!  Sign up HERE!  Also, join the 31 Day Fertility Care Challenge Facebook Page for support, encouragement & accountability.  If you missed last week's Nutrition Challenges you can find them on the 31 Day Fertility Care Challenge Pinterest Board.