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Exercise as a Stress Reliever and how it can Improve Fertility (Part 2)
EFFECTS OF EXERCISE ON FEMALE FERTILITY
When you engage in regular exercise during your fertility journey, you spend less time being idle. It can help with getting pregnant and improving your mental health.
Exercise boosts your fertility chances, especially if you have a high body mass index (BMI), which will also help you lose weight.
Staying active with moderate exercises before and after getting pregnant helps you have a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and a bouncing baby. It reduces the chances of having complications like preeclampsia and gestational diabetes when you conceive.
It may be easier to cope with pregnancy, labour, and delivery when you are fit, strong and flexible, specifically if you continue being active during pregnancy.
Exercise reduces the risk of ovulation problems, miscarriages and increases the chances of having a baby among women who undergo assisted reproductive treatments.
Being overweight can be associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and infertility. Polycystic ovarian syndrome causes hormonal imbalance, which affects the ability to ovulate. For overweight and obese women who have PCOS, regular exercise can increase ovulation frequency, which leads to more regular menstrual cycles. As ovulation becomes more frequent, the chances of conceiving increase. In women with this health condition, losing about 10% of their body weight can also improve fertility, the general quality of life and reduce the symptoms of depression and body image distress.
EFFECTS OF EXERCISE ON MALE FERTILITY
Moderate physical activity in men improves their hormone levels and regulates sperm production. Men who carry out exercise regularly have a better quality of sperm. It is a simple, cheap, and effective strategy for boosting male fertility.
Studies have shown that semen analysis in physically active men reveal better sperm morphology, increased sperm count and enhanced sperm motility due to the improved hormone levels (progyny).
The risk of erectile dysfunction is reduced, and the possibility of conception is more when a male exercises often.
Frequent exercise in males can also boost their sex drive and decrease the risk of infertility.
Male obesity contributes to poor sperm quality and quantity as it interferes with masculine hormones and negatively impacts fertility. Weight loss as a result of combined exercise and nutritional support can improve a man’s fertility potential.
Male fertility health will improve with lifestyle modifications that combine regular exercise and healthy nutrition if there are underlying health conditions like diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases that make it hard for couples to conceive.
Exercises that produce excessive heat to the male body, especially in the testicular area, can hamper his fertility by reducing the availability of free testosterone, altering the release of luteinizing hormone and lowering sperm production. Few exercises that negatively impact male fertility are hot yoga, highly stressful competitive exercises and heavy weightlifting accompanied with steroid use which can cause testicular shrinkage.
Strenuous exercises alongside steroids use among men should be avoided when trying to attain pregnancy because these can be one of the causes of male infertility. Cardiovascular exercises are the most recommended for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and improving fertility. However, it is crucial to strike the right balance with exercise because too much exercise and playing competitive sports can harm sperm production and reduce sperm quality. Males involved in strenuous and competitive activities should be practicing it in moderation to avoid prostate irritation, lower testosterone production, and physical stress on the body. Other forms of protecting male fertility during exercise include wearing an athletic cup during contact sports or upgrading to a better quality bicycle seat. A healthy diet, minimal alcohol consumption, and smoking cessation are highly recommended to succeed in a man’s fertility journey.
A healthy lifestyle, weight loss where necessary, combined with regular cardiovascular exercise and nutritional support, are essential methods to engage both partners in optimizing their fertility and achieving parenthood. These small changes can significantly impact your overall health and your path to fatherhood or motherhood.
Suppose there is an underlying health condition that can be risky if you need to engage in exercise, you have to seek the guidance of a health professional who will certify the level of activity you can do. Underweight or overweight people can also seek a certified fitness professional evaluation for a well-tailored program specific to their unique needs. Excessive exercise is associated with infertility, so as much as we encourage everyone to exercise regularly, you should do it in moderation.
Remember, “any exercise is better than no exercise” (Sheila Dugan). Most Importantly, ensure you have fun while exercising and listen to your body as you engage in these exercises. If you do not currently exercise, you can begin with small achievable goals and then build-up to the recommended levels of at least 30minutes of physical activity every day.
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Source: LAIVF, progyny
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