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Change your exercise routine for optimal fertility health

Updated on September 14, 2013
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Who among us cannot say how good we felt after a walk in the forest or along a beach? Not one, I imagine.

Exercise is a wonderful de-stressor, and being stress-free is one of the most important aspects of fertility health.

It also reduces the risk of high blood pressure and lowers the risk of diabetes.
Exercise helps reduce excess weight, which is very important when trying to conceive.

However, not all exercise is created equal when it comes to fertility. Recent studies have shown that women who are extremely fit, and exercise several times a week, are actually less fertile.

Beforehand, it was the belief that 45 minutes of exercise, five times a week, was optimum for fertility; but studies at Harvard University have proved otherwise.

These studies show that ‘extreme’ or vigorous exercise like pushing heavy weights at the gym, excessive running or high-impact cardiovascular exercise, is harmful to you when trying to conceive. The studies show that high-intensity workouts can cause hormonal imbalance and even disrupt ovulation.

It is a tricky one, because if you’re overweight and trying to conceive, exercise is a must.
So moderation is the key word here. The new word of advice is this: if you are a normal or healthy weight, rather reduce the amount of exercise you do, to achieve optimal fertile health.

An great example to use here is the Duchess of Cambridge, who reportedly dropped her strenuous workout of running and gym sessions, and went for walks in the park instead, to better her chances of falling pregnant.

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The best exercise for fertility:

1. YOGA – low impact Hatha yoga is best. Avoid of Ashtanga or Bikram, or heated yoga.

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2. WALKINGbrisk walking is better for your bones that running and your heart-rate is still at an optimal fat-burning level. I find that going for a long walk in nature allows me to switch off completely, and I find myself in an almost meditative state.

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3. SWIMMING – this is one of the best exercises you can do as it uses all your muscles yet there is no harmful impact on the body.

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4. DANCING – such as Zumba or Latin American dance class is an energetic and fun way to get your heart pumping at a healthy rate.

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5. LIGHT JOGGING – a moderate-paced, short-distance (roughly 5km) jog has lower impact on your body that a strenuous, long-distance run.

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6. LIGHT WEIGHTS – if you lift weights at gym, lower the weight. Don’t stress your body by pushing heavy weights. Rather go for a lighter weight and do a few more reps, if necessary. Never feel as though you are pushing or straining your body.

Diet is important too

Hand-in-hand with a good exercise routine is a healthy diet. Certain foods are essentila for optimal fertility health.
See here for an in-depth article on the best foods to eat when trying to conceive.

Exercise to avoid

Core strength training such as Pilates. Consult a Pilates instructor for pre-natal-friendly classes.
Bikram or heated yoga. It raises your body temperature too high.
Strenuous running.
Heavy weight-lifting.
Extreme boot-camp type of exercise.
Sports such as ballet, gymnastics etc.
Any exercise over an hour long.

Always consult a health practitioner or professional trainer before undertaking any exercise for the first time. Especially if you are trying to conceive, or are pregnant.

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    • thefedorows profile image

      thefedorows 3 years ago from the Midwest

      I had not considered this before. Well-written hub and lovely pictures. I am interested in reading more about the Harvard study you mentioned. Thumbs up!

    • MagKaye profile image
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      MagKaye 3 years ago

      Thanks do much. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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