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Exercise Affects Fertility: A Detailed Guide

Fertility is the ability to conceive a child. Modifying your lifestyle to improve your preconception health can improve your chances of pregnancy and the health of your future child. Numerous factors can influence fertility. Inversely, PCOS, pelvic inflammatory diseases, endometriosis, Celiac disease, and other medical conditions can reduce fertility.

A healthy weight increases the chances of conception and reduces the chances of infertility. Exercise can assist overweight women to lose weight. Even a slight drop in weight helps increase fertility. According to health experts, a rise in fertility can occur by decreasing merely 10% of body weight if you are overweight. Therefore, exercise is an essential part of weight management.

Exercise increases the likelihood of meeting recommended physical activity levels. Walking, swimming, cycling, or taking the stairs instead of elevators will assist in getting the exercise you need for well-being and optimal fertility. 

Weight Management and Fertility: The Connection

Excess Weight And Female Fertility

An optimal hormonal balance governs the menstrual cycle. Obese women have higher leptin levels, a hormone produced in fatty tissue. It can disrupt hormone balance and result in decreased fertility. The amount and distribution of body fat impact the menstrual cycle via various hormonal mechanisms. Therefore, the greater the weight and abdominal fat, the greater the risk of infertility.

Excess weight is associated with insulin resistance. In this condition, the body produces more insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels and reduce levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). It is a protein that regulates sex hormones androgen and oestrogen. As a result, it increases the likelihood of irregular menstrual cycles, reducing fertility.

Unfavourable changes in the hormonal balance that regulates the menstrual cycle due to obesity and excess weight also increase the risk of anovulation. Women with a BMI greater than 27 are more likely to be unable to conceive than women of recommended weight. This is because the former group has issues ovulating.

Excess Weight And Male Fertility

Obesity is also linked to lower fertility in men. It is most likely the result of a combination of factors. These include hormone issues, sexual dysfunction, and other obesity-related health conditions. For example, it can lead to type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea (which can result in low testosterone levels and erectile problems.) Obesity alters the physical and molecular structure of sperm cells and reduces sperm quality.

Healthy lifestyle choices can aid in fertility enhancement. 

Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). Obesity or being underweight can prevent ovulation.Prevent sexually transmitted illnesses by wearing a protection device. Infections like chlamydia and gonorrhoea are among the most common causes of infertility.Avoid working the night shift. Working daily at night can increase your chances of infertility by causing hormonal changes. If you work the night, make sure you get adequate rest while you’re not working.

Exercises to Improve Fertility

You can do strenuous workouts in moderation as it won’t cause harm. Also, you must avoid prolonged strenuous workouts without supervision. 

Brisk walking: Brisk walking is a great way to get some exercise that is both safe and effective. It’s good for your heart, increases endurance, has a mild impact, and is a great stress reliever.Dancing: Dancing boosts blood flow. Moderate intensity activities like dancing may improve fertility. Cycling: Cycling for 30 minutes a few times a week is an excellent way to get in a good workout. Yoga: Yoga is the best body-mind workout for fertility. Yoga helps you deal with stress and also helps with strengthening and slimming your body. Pilates: Pilates is a great way to keep in shape and boost fertility. Swimming: Swimming is one of the most effective methods to stay in shape. You may receive a good cardio workout without putting too much stress on your joints. Swimming allows you to select your own pace and gradually increase it. It is a good option for people who are just getting started with a workout routine.

Benefits of Exercise on Fertility

For Women

Regular moderate exercise before you are pregnant will help you have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. Being active before and during early pregnancy can lower your risk of developing complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia.

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) is a complex condition associated with infertility.  It causes difficulty in ovulation leading to irregular or no periods. Exercise may elevate the frequency of ovulation in women with PCOS, resulting in more regular menstrual cycles. The likelihood of conceiving increases as ovulation frequency increases.

The body undergoes a lot of stress throughout pregnancy. You may find it simpler to deal with if you are fit, strong, and flexible. In addition, physically active pregnant women have an easier time giving birth.

It’s exciting to think about having a child. But, it can also be a stressful time for both parents. You’re making preparations for a significant life transition. Anxiety, depression, and irritability are frequent mental health issues during pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy level of activity can assist in improving your mood and reduce your chances of stress and sadness.

For Men

Men concerned about their fertility must exercise as they have less testosterone converted to oestrogen. Men can improve their fertility and cardiovascular health by controlling these hormones and minimising fat storage.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and enhancing fertility are best accomplished through resistance training or cardiovascular activities. In moderation, competitive cycling and triathlons can help to prevent prostate inflammation, lower testosterone production, and physical stress on the body.

The HealthifyMe Note 

Exercise can help overweight or obese women and men lose weight. Even slight weight loss can help increase fertility. Incorporating exercise into daily activities increases the likelihood of reaching recommended physical activity levels. Men concerned about their fertility must exercise because it reduces the amount of testosterone converted to oestrogen. Being physically active before and during pregnancy reduces the risk of developing gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, depression, and anxiety for women.

Effects of Exercise on Fertility

Moderate regular exercise improves fertility; however, it is essential to understand that a large amount of high-intensity exercise reduces fertility. Therefore, one must avoid high-intensity exercise while trying for a baby.

The luteal phase occurs between ovulation and the starting of periods. According to studies, this phase, sometimes known as the “two-week wait,” typically lasts between 12 to 16 days. A shorter luteal phase caused by excessive activity can make it difficult to conceive since progesterone levels drop. During this time, progesterone levels are generally high, allowing a fertilised egg to attach itself to the uterine lining. On the other hand, low amounts of progesterone can prevent a fertilised egg from implanting, resulting in infertility.

Studies state that a shift in leptin levels, which controls hunger and metabolism, is another possible explanation for exercise-induced infertility. You may not eat enough if your appetite is low, which might cause irregular ovulation. Women who exercise for more than seven hours each week may also be more prone to restrict their food. Ovulation can be hampered if you don’t eat enough healthy fats, lose weight quickly, or weigh less than the optimum weight for your height.

Obesity in men can harm sperm quality and fertility. Regular moderate exercise can help men lose weight or stay in the healthy weight range, improving sperm quality. However, excessive high-intensity activity may be harmful to sperm quality.

The HealthifyMe Note

Regular exercise can increase ovulation in overweight and obese PCOS women, resulting in more regular menstrual cycles. Moderate regular exercise improves fertility; however, it is essential to understand that a large amount of high-intensity activity reduces fertility both in men and women.

Risk Factors and Other Tips

Sedentary Behaviour

A healthy lifestyle necessitates regular exercise. Therefore, you must maintain a regular fitness program to keep yourself fit and active. You can enhance your stamina, immunity, healing capacities, and general fertility by exercising for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week. Making simple changes like taking walking meetings or parking the car a little away from the destination can introduce exercise into your life. In addition, opt for a healthy planning method. 

Self-Medication

Before taking any medication, seek medical counsel. Certain medications may influence your ability to conceive. Consult your doctor about the side effects if you’re on medication. For example, some people utilise steroids to gain muscle mass and build their bodies which can negatively affect one’s fertility. 

Unhealthy Food 

It’s better to avoid eating fast food too frequently if you want to maintain your fertility levels. According to research professionals, males who ate processed meat had fewer “normal” shaped sperm cells than those who ate healthily. 

Stress

It can cause hormonal changes, including testosterone imbalance, which can directly impact male fertility. Stress and its subsequent factors like tension, anxiety, sleeplessness, etc. can disbalance the hormonal level of a woman’s body and adversely affect her ability to conceive. 

Smoking

Tobacco usage leads to a reduction in fertility. Smoking prematurely ages the ovaries and depletes the eggs. 

Alcohol Consumption

Heavy drinking can lead to a higher risk of ovulation problems. Consider abstaining from alcohol entirely if you want to become pregnant. Because a safe threshold of fetal alcohol intake is debatable, abstinence at conception and during pregnancy is advised.

Excessive Caffeine Intake 

According to studies, caffeine can have adverse effects on female fertility. However, caffeine intake of less than 150 mg daily appears to have no impact on female fertility. 

Conclusion

Circumstances, such as medical difficulties that impair your ability to conceive may be beyond your control. However, lifestyle choices can affect your fertility. Lifestyle factors such as age, weight, exercise, stress, nutrition, environment, and occupational exposures can affect fertility. Furthermore, smoking, drug use, alcohol, and caffeine can also reduce fertility. Regular workouts may help in enhancing reproductive health and boost fertility. Finally, it is vital to do moderate physical activities because vigorous exercises can be detrimental to fertility. 

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