Fertility and Exercise – Is Too Much Exercise Bad?

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Fertility and Exercise

Fertility and Exercise

Are you having difficulty falling pregnant?

Are you ticking all the boxes with regards to exercise, nutrition, living a healthy lifestyle and looking after your overall health and well-being?

Have you thought about your Fertility and Exercise?

One issue you may need to look at is if you are exercising too much and at a high intensity for excessive periods of time. While exercise is good for you, too much may be causing some issues that is making it more difficult for you to fall pregnant.

Some women who are elite endurance athletes (marathon runners) may experience what is called amenorrhea which can negatively affect their fertility.

If you are trying to fall pregnant you will want to scale back those long endurance and intense workouts as they may be negatively impacting your chances of falling pregnant.

Let’s Chat about Fertility and Exercise

How Can Intense Exercise Affect Your Fertility?

Excessive and intense exercise can lead to a decrease in the production of the hormones that stimulate ovary function. In some women, this can cause ovaries to become under-active and stop producing eggs and estrogen.

The other risk associated with excessive exercise for long durations is that it can cause the body to break down the proteins in muscles. This can result in the production of ammonia which is a pregnancy-inhibiting chemical.

Reproductive endocrinologist (from New York City) Sami David, MD, stated: ‘Intense exercise lowers progesterone and throws off your hormone levels.

Endorphins can suppress your FSH and LH, the hormones in your pituitary gland responsible for producing eggs, and the ovarian hormones estradiol and progesterone. This makes it harder for you to get pregnant or more likely to miscarry without knowing it.’

Can Intense Exercise Affect Your Fertility?

What About those Who Do Not Exercise?

Exercise is beneficial and essential to maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall health and well-being. What is not recommended are intense and long duration workouts.

If you are sedentary, then there will be many physiological and psychological changes that come from starting an exercise program. Most of which can be of benefit in helping you to conceive.

Exercise improves metabolism and circulation which contributes to better egg production. Regular activity also optimizes your reproductive system by stimulating the endocrine glands, which secrete hormones that help eggs grow.

Exercise can help you relieve stress and being ‘over-stressed’ can decrease the probability of conception.

Fertility, Exercise and Getting Pregnant

The key point for you when it comes to exercise is to stick to what is recommended. And to find a balance that allows your body to function optimally for falling pregnant.

Runners may need to reduce their training if they are experiencing irregular menstrual cycles and have a low BMI.

If you find yourself getting a little bored with your ‘less-intense’ walking sessions or workouts; think about what you are trying to achieve here. That’s getting pregnant!

Focus on physically preparing your body for pregnancy!

Pre pregnancy is not a time to be obsessed with being fit and maintaining a ‘bikini’ figure as some well-known ‘weight loss’ programs promote. Your goals are to ‘prime’ your body for pregnancy and having very low levels of body fat will not work in your favour.

This is why we promote healthy weight management as it is an individual decision when it comes to a healthy body weight.

You may need to lose some weight if you are overweight, or you may need to add on some weight if extremely underweight, your doctor will guide you with this decision.

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Kerryn Boyle
Kerryn is a Prenatal Exercise Specialist who teaches pregnancy classes in Melbourne Australia. Kerryn has over 10 years of extensive experience in women’s health, fitness and well-being specialising in prenatal and postnatal exercise. Kerryn’s areas of expertise includes providing women with safe diastasis recti exercises to help heal abdominal separation. Kerryn holds a Bachelor Degree in Exercise and Sport Science, is a qualified Prenatal Pilates Instructor.