Does Too Much Intense Exercise
Affect Your Fertility?
Are you having difficulty falling pregnant while ticking all the boxes with regards to exercise, nutrition, living a healthy lifestyle and looking after your overall health and wellbeing?
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.
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, which in some women, can cause ovaries to become underactive 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 resulting 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, making it harder for you to get pregnant or more likely to miscarry without knowing it.’
What About those Who Do Not Exercise?
Exercise is beneficial and essential to maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall health and wellbeing. 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 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.
Optimise Your Body for Pregnancy
The key point for you when it comes to exercise is to stick to what is recommended 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 are accustomed to long exercise workouts and find yourself getting a little bored with your ‘less-intense’ walking sessions or workouts; think about what you are trying to achieve here in getting pregnant and that should help you stay on track when it comes to being smart about the exercise you do.
Preparing for 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.