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Hey guys Kate here,
So I know you’re trying to get healthy because you want to conceive, so you’re doing all the things. Eating better, taking prenatal supplements, and you want to start exercising, so you’ve taken up running. Good idea?
Not so fast.
I know in our culture “exercise” has to involve sweating and extreme physical challenge, but is that what’s best for your fertility?
A 2012 study showed that normal weight women who exercise moderately are more likely to conceive more quickly than people who are sedentary. But also more quickly than women who exercised vigorously. And vigorously was defined as running, cycling, swimming. Moderate exercise included things like brisk walking, golf, and gardening.
For women who were overweight, or with a BMI over 25, there was no difference for moderate and vigorous exercise.
So what exactly does this mean? It means that if you’re a healthy weight, the best thing you can do exercise wise is to get moderate exercise. So in my practice, I definitely encourage all women to incorporate some type of movement into their daily lives. But if you’re a runner, cutting back and doing brisk walking instead may actually be more beneficial.
If you’re overweight, however, they type of exercise matters less–it can be moderate or vigorous, but including some exercise is key.
Exercise is good–it gets your blood moving, supports your digestion, and in chinese medicine keeps your qi moving. But heavy exercise actually creates more stress on your body, which isn’t what we’re going for if you’re trying to get pregnant, and for normal weight women, it can actually decrease body fat too much. We do need a certain amount of body fat to get pregnant (but too much is it’s own problem)
So what do I recommend to my clients? I’m obviously a big fan of yoga (and I’ve got some yoga for fertility classes coming your way on Yoga Studio App, so stay tuned for that), and I think walking or moderate hiking (not climbing 14ers Coloradans) are really great.
Now some of this depends on your fitness level, too. If you’re a marathon runner, I would stop training for marathons, but if that’s what you’ve been doing, cutting back to a 3 mile run is not going to put a lot of stress on your body, so that might be okay. But if you can walk instead, I’d try it. And for those of you who don’t have any exercise routines, start with a 30 minute walk on your lunch break, or around the block after dinner. And it doesn’t have to be prefect. We are looking for movement, but not major stress on your body. So walking and yoga are the two things I really encourage women to do.
And when looking at yoga classes, let’s skip the hot yoga and super vigorous power classes. They are great, but again, we don’t want anything that’s going to put too much stress your body. So flow classes, restorative and yin classes are great, and especially any fertility yoga classes!
We want to think about exercise as nourishing your body instead of depleting it. instead of doing things that run down our gas tank, we want to fill our tanks, especially if we’re trying to conceive..
So start adding this to your daily routine. I recommend a 30 minute walk and 20 mins of yoga as a baseline to start. Check in with your body and notice how this feels–then let me know–leave a comment or send me a note! I;d love to hear from you!
Until next time.