When trying to conceive, you’ll probably start rethinking everything you do in your daily routine. Should I eat this? Can I drink that? It’s all enough to drive you crazy, but when it comes to exercising when trying to conceive, the rules are pretty simple. Keep it in moderation and mind certain factors that make a difference for both men and women.
For women trying to conceive
Walking and fertility yoga are two of the best ways to promote circulation and improve strength and flexibility of the muscles surrounding the uterus. Leading an inactive lifestyle with little to no exercise can create situation of stagnation of blood flow to the uterus and other reproductive organs. The main artery that supplies blood to our legs also supplies blood to our uterus, ovaries and vagina — so basically, keep moving!
If you have a desk job, you may find yourself sitting around a lot, causing the blood flow to the uterus to be compromised. This won’t help any, especially if you already have other fertility issues. What’s more is that not moving this area of our body enough can contribute to scar tissue and adhesions forming. A sedentary lifestyle also contributes directly to weak muscles of the uterus.
If you’re trying to conceive, adding a brisk walk to your daily routine may help, but you may want to hold off training for that marathon. Brisk walking, leisurely cycling, golfing, and gardening are considered moderate exercise.
If you’re overweight, moderate exercise is especially important as being overweight impacts your fertility negatively. If you’re not accustomed to working out at all, start slowly and work your way up. Most women who are already active should be able to continue to exercise without worrying that it will negatively impact their fertility. Women who exercise to relieve stress should certainly not stop when they want to become pregnant unless there is a medical reason for doing so.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise per day on most if not all days of the week, unless you have a medical or obstetric complication. The optimal Body Mass Index (BMI) for fertility for women is between 20 and 25.
For men trying to conceive
The same rules generally apply to men, but intense exercise has been found to decrease testosterone levels, which in turn reduce sex drive and sperm health. The three biggest concerns for men are heat, pressure and trauma.
Sperm production requires a temperature between 94 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit. Even a one-degree increase is enough to stop production and kill off any sperm already produced. So it’s best to try to avoid vigorous exercise that will put pressure on your testes or cause you to overeat. When you do exercise, try avoid wearing jock straps, getting in hot tubs and steam rooms. And if you just can’t avoid it, limit time to 15 minutes.
A few suggestions on “safe” exercises for men while protecting fertility and boosting sperm count include jogging around the block long enough to get an accelerated heartbeat, swimming (this allows plenty of moderate exercise while keeping the ‘boys’ cool and comfy), and yoga or pilates — which are both harder than they look!
Men should not exceed 45 minutes of exercise a day for the health and mobility of sperm and sperm count. The same rules on obesity apply to men, although their recommended BMI shouldn’t be lower than 18 for optimal fertility.
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