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How much is too much: Exercise and Fertility

Everyone knows being active and having a regular, healthy way to blow off steam is beneficial in many ways. Working out not only improves your physical health but aids in maintaining a positive attitude. Consistent exercise makes you stronger, more resilient and less likely to succumb to chronic conditions later in life. Exercise and a healthy diet are instrumental in maintaining weight.

But what about exercise and your fertility? Can you get too much of a good thing? Well, the answer to both questions is “it depends.” Each case of infertility is unique. The reason behind your inability to conceive dictates those lifestyle changes you need to make, including exercise.

How Exercise Affects Your Fertility

Doctors encourage moderate exercise before and after pregnancy for many reasons. That positive attitude we spoke of is just one of the reasons. Research shows that regular exercise before pregnancy helps women avoid risks such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes. Because consistent workouts build stamina, your labor won’t be as overwhelming as it would otherwise.

Women who have ovulatory disorder infertility, such as that caused by PCOS, hypothyroidism or underproduction of certain hormones, benefit from positive, low-risk lifestyle changes, including exercise. Just 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity such as walking, swimming, biking or some other form of aerobic exercise, may impact your ovulation in a positive way.

Women who are obese are at significantly greater risk for infertility, pregnancy related complications and miscarriage. As mentioned, when combining moderate exercise with a healthy diet you can lose weight in a reasonable manner.

Stress inhibits the ability to conceive as well. Regular physical activity is one of the best-known stress-busters around. Of course the long-term benefits of regular sweat sessions are another reason to continue. You want to be your best for all the years ahead to enjoy your family.

Exercise is beneficial for most women who are trying to conceive, to some degree. Your regular morning run, evening walks or lunch hour at the gym keep you healthy and are excellent habits that impact your fertility as they do your overall health; in a positive way. If there is ever any reason to temporarily halt your workouts, your physician will let you know.



How Much is Too Much

Alas, as with anything that’s good for you there comes a point when too much is just too much! With exercise and your fertility, there are a few caveats. Back off the strenuous workouts and sports for now, or at least limit your intense activity to less than four hours per week. These activities include:


  • Powerlifting
  • Marathon training
  • High intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Cross-fit
  • Racquetball


You know how much your body can take and for some women athletes the super-strenuous workouts are their norm. However, when you are undergoing treatment for infertility, you need to take it easy. Overdoing it causes dehydration and an increased risk of injury. You are at greater risk for ovarian torsion during treatment for infertility. Ovarian torsion is extremely painful, can damage your ovary and may require emergency surgery to repair.


Men, Fertility and Exercise

There’s not much data when it comes to male infertility and exercise. We do know constriction or compression of the testicles, such as when wearing bicycle shorts, reduces sperm count and impairs sperm motility. Likewise any exercise that causes overheating of the scrotal region.

Performance-enhancing steroids reduce the amount of male reproductive hormones secreted in the brain. Steroids also reduce testosterone concentration in the testes. This impairs sperm quality, quantity, motility and morphology. Be sure to disclose all medications you take when you speak with your physician regarding your fertility.



How to Get More Beneficial Exercise

Moderate-intensity exercise is beneficial while undergoing treatment for infertility. Make sure to keep your heart rate in the mid-range of your targeted maximum heart rate (Subtract your age from 220 for your max heart rate.). For example if you are 35 years old your maximum heart rate is 185 bpm. 120-140 bpm is a healthy mid-range heart rate. If you have a fitness tracking device this should be fairly easy for you to assess.

Here are some ideas to help you get in 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day while undergoing treatment for infertility:


  • Water aerobics
  • Swimming laps at an easy pace
  • Walking
  • Leisure bike riding
  • Dancing
  • Yoga


Again, a wearable fitness tracker will help you count your steps, monitor your heart rate and assist you in keeping a record of your activity.


Seek Out The Professionals for More

Treatment for infertility is a stressful time. Exercise helps you feel better-mind, body and soul. Discuss your current preferred workout with your physician and together you can decide what’s best for you at this time.

There are many different options for fertility treatment. To find the best option for you contact  LA IVF today.

TEL: 310-286-2800 | FAX: 310-691-1116