Being overweight is an important factor in fertility. Exercise is the last variable to be looked upon, unless a woman’s periods are absent or irregular and it is the one we know the least about.
BMI (body mass index) is not always the best way to assess how weight affects reproductive function. BMI is based on height and weight, it does not distinguish between fat and muscle. Higher the lean body mass, more fit you are. Ovulation is impaired if body fat is <12% or >30-35%.
For sedentary women, the subtle physiological changes that come from increasing exercise can increase their odds of conceiving. Exercise improves metabolism and circulation, both of which contribute to better egg production. Regular physical activity stimulates the endocrine glands and increases gonadotropins. Also getting sweat on is a stress reliever-stress is another factor which decreases the probability of conception.
“No pain No gain”. Workout should be at the ‘public health’ dosage of 150 minutes weekly that translates to 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day for 5 days a week. Moderate intensity is the best vigorous exercise reduces the progesterone levels, thereby impairing luteal phase.
Best exercises for women trying to conceive:
- Brisk walking for 30 minutes to 1 hour – 5 days a week.
- 2-3 one hour session of yoga.
- Zumba dancing 3 days a week.
- Aerobics 3 days a week.
- Light jogging
Exercise to avoid while trying to conceive:
- Exercising all 7 days a week.
- Vigorous exercise for more than one hour.
- Fast running
- Core strength training
- Light jogging
Women undergoing IUI or IVF or any other fertility treatments can be advised daily walking or mild yoga, which will be beneficial to health and help to reduce stress levels.
Not only ovarian function, but regular exercise decreases fat and increases lean muscle, leading to less estrogen and more testosterone in men helping in better sperm production.