The Best Way to Exercise for Fertility
Is exercising more actually beneficial to your fertility?
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.
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?
Maybe not according to a 2012 study…
This study looked at women who exercised moderately (including brisk walking, golf, and gardening) and compared them to sedentary women AND vigorous exercisers (defined as things like running, cycling, swimming.)
The results showed that:
- normal weight women who exercise moderately are likely to conceive more quickly than people who are sedentary
- moderate exercisers also conceived more quickly than women who exercised vigorously
- there was no difference for moderate and vigorous exercise for women who were overweight (or with a BMI over 25)
The best way to exercise for fertility:
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.
If you’re overweight, however, they type of exercise matters less–it can be moderate or vigorous, but including some exercise is key.
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 on mileage or doing brisk walking instead may actually be more beneficial.
Exercise is great for our overall health–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 sometimes decrease body fat too much).
I recommend yoga (but skip the hot classes!), walking, light hiking, dancing, and any other form of movement you enjoy.
Start with a goal of 30 minutes of movement a day–it could be a walk on your lunch break, or a stroll around the block after dinner.
If you’re a vigorous exerciser, try cutting back a bit. Run fewer days, or reduce your mileage and add in some walking, too. If you can’t give it up, I totally understand, just try not to overdo it while you’re trying to conceive.
And remember–it doesn’t have to be prefect. Start by making small changes and build from there.
We want to think about exercise as nourishing your body instead of depleting it. So think about what fills you up and makes you feel good.
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