When It Comes To Fertility, How Much Is Too Much Exercise?
There’s no question that exercise clearly plays a role in fertility and the chance of conceiving.
There’s plenty of research available that both supports and encourages exercising regularly to improve reproductive function. One study in particular concluded that women who exercised 30 minutes or more daily had a reduced risk of infertility due to ovulation disorders.
In addition to all the research promoting exercise, there’s other research that suggests too much vigorous exercise can lower fertility and a woman’s chances of conceiving.
Let’s take a closer look at both of these suggestions and claims.
When it comes to fertility, exercise gets the thumbs up.
It not only improves metabolism and circulation, both of which contribute to better egg production, but it also optimizes your reproductive system by stimulating the endocrine glands, which secrete hormones that help eggs grow.
What’s important for us to distinguish is how much exercise is the right amount that will help support fertility and how much is too much that may potentially jeopardize the chance of conceiving.
When it comes to exercising, more than an hour of vigorous exercise per day can lead to a decrease in the production of the hormones necessary to stimulate ovary function.
In some women, this can cause the ovaries to become underactive and stop producing eggs and estrogen. Definitely not a good thing when trying to conceive.
The longer the exercise duration and intensity, the higher the risk as the body begins to break down the proteins in muscles which in turn, produce ammonia, a pregnancy-inhibiting chemical.
The key to distinguishing between enough and too much exercise lies in defining what “vigorous exercise” means.
The answer to this will be different for everyone since it’s each person’s individual fitness level that determines what “vigorous exercise” means.
If your means of exercise has been walking, I wouldn’t suggest you begin training for a marathon.
On the other hand, if you find yourself constantly in marathon training mode, consider scaling back and training for a half marathon instead as a way to decrease the intensity, the “vigorous exercise” that may potentially be jeopardizing the chance of conceiving.
When using exercise as a means to help support fertility and chance of conceiving, 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise per day is more than enough to check the daily exercise box.
We put ourselves at risk when we exercise for anything over an hour at high intensity levels.
The key to effectively using exercise to help support fertility is to find the right balance between too much and too little exercise.
Whether it’s walking, yoga, Pilates, an exercise class, whatever form of exercise you choose to use, keep it to a minimum of 30 minutes and maximum of 60 minutes. Anywhere in-between is perfectly fine.
Moderate exercise suggests working within your body’s natural limits and not pushing yourself to complete fatigue and exhaustion.
Stick to exercise programs and routines you’ve been using and are comfortable with and avoid adding in any new exercises, classes, or training programs that your body isn’t use to or has been exposed to before.
Make it a point to not overthink it either which can add unnecessary stress to the process.
Exercise is supposed to alleviate stress, not add to it.
A good thing too since stress can significantly decrease the probability of conception.
So go ahead and exercise – it’s another step closer to being fit and fertile.