Bringing a little version of you into the world is a big step for any parent. Exercise encourages fertility and a healthy pregnancy, but can you overdo it?
Keeping your body healthy is important for many reasons, especially if you are an aspiring parent. When trying to encourage fertility, there are many various remedies people try, including drinking certain herbs and eating specific foods as well as receiving specialized fertility massages. However, one of the best ways to help encourage fertility, as well as a healthy lifestyle, is by exercising.
The Effects of Excessive Exercise
Exercising is a great way for many people to stay in shape, give the mind a break, and even relieve some stress. However, as far as fertility goes, your body could be thinking the opposite. If you are exercising too much and put your body through strenuous workouts or excessive weight lifting many days each week, your body can perceive that these consistent, high-stress situations provide an unfit environment for pregnancy, leading to decreased fertility.
Finding a Healthy Weight for Pregnancy
Some women feel that they must be able to squeeze into their skinny jeans from freshman year of college in order to be healthy enough to carry a child. However, this is not the case, as the body has its own specifications for being healthy enough for pregnancy.
Being severely underweight or obese can both be associated with decreased fertility or problems during pregnancy, but the main guideline for health associated with conception is body mass index (BMI). BMI takes into consideration a person’s height and weight, and produces a number, which can be used to gauge physical health. A healthy BMI lies between 18 and 25, and a value above or below this range can indicate fertility issues.
Fat cells are responsible for producing hormones that are critical for ovulation and pregnancy, and a body fat percentage that is too high or too low can lead to over or underproduction of these hormones. Exercising can be a great way to positively adjust body fat percentage, leading to a healthier BMI as well.
Which Exercises Should I Be Doing?
Since intense workouts send stress signals the body, it is important to regulate workouts and find a good routine that works for you. Generally, working out for an hour, three to four days a week or for 30 minutes, five days a week should be sufficient to meet your weight and health goals.
Some good, moderate intensity exercises can include walking, light jogging, riding your bike, swimming laps in the pool, performing yoga, and dancing. More intense exercises that should be avoided include long distance running, boot-camp type programs, or other strenuous sport specific training. No matter what exercises you are doing, it is important to keep with them and stay motivated to meet your fitness goals, whether it’s burning fat and losing weight or kicking your workouts down a few notches.
If you are at a low physical fitness level, it is important to start slow and work your way into a good routine. Even starting with just a few minutes of walking each day can make a difference over time.
What About Male Fertility?
When couples have issues conceiving, there is an almost equally likely chance that the man may be contributing to these problems. The majority of issues regarding male infertility are associated with low sperm count and quality.
Maintaining a healthy BMI, as well as a healthy body fat percentage can help improve these issues, and the same workout principles mentioned above apply to men as well. High intensity workouts, although better than no physical activity, are not ideal for maximized sperm quality and quantity. A moderate level workout routine for 30 to 60 minutes three to five times a week is a great way to meet fitness levels and encourage increased fertility.
Exercise Your Way to Better Fertility
Infertility is an issue that is more common that you might think among couples. To help encourage a healthy lifestyle and fertility, it is important to regulate your health by monitoring your weight, BMI, and fitness level. Moderate intensity workouts are a great way to both meet your fitness goals, and provide your body with the tools and atmosphere it needs for a healthy pregnancy.