Exercise and Fertility
I have one rule when it comes to exercise: find what you love to do and enjoy every minute. Sound impossible? Either you haven’t found the right exercise or what you’re doing (or thinking you should be doing) is a chore. Let’s face it, we already have more than enough obligations in our lives, so finding enjoyable activities that get us moving is essential. Solution: think pleasure when it comes to exercising for fertility.
If you can, get a little movement each day (30 minutes is ideal) to invigorate fresh blood and oxygen flow to your reproductive organs, release feel good endorphins, optimize your weight and reduce stress. All good things. Moderation is key. You don’t want to be an over-exerting exercise maniac either. Women who use exercise as a means to be overly thin tend to create imbalances in their hormone levels. This goes both ways, since our estrogen is stored in fat cells, being overweight can create the same imbalance. Ideally, aim to keep your BMI (body mass index) in the healthy range, between 18 and 25.
Apart from some of the staples like walking, swimming and hiking, here are some favorite fertility exercises you might try:
Yoga- fertility yoga helps to calm the nervous system and encourage blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. With increasing popularity, you may be lucky enough to find fertility yoga classes locally. If not, there are several DVD’s worth checking out: Pulling Down the Moon, Bend, Breathe and Conceive, Yoga 4 Fertility.
Qi Gong- a great moving meditation that connects you to the earth, while opening the various energy lines in your body (referred to as meridians in Chinese Medicine. Tao Yin, The Fertile Soul Qi Gong practice, is designed specifically to improve the communication between the brain, pituitary gland and reproductive organs and reduce stress.
Dancing- what better way to open your hips and pelvis than with a NIA class? This full body workout is done barefoot and requires no dance technique whatsoever. It is truly a choose your own adventure dancing experience.
Some activities you might want to limit:
Excess abdominals and sit-ups- since fertility and getting pregnant is all about expanding your belly, it’s best not to over constrict that area. For me, this is music to my ears, since I don’t love doing a hundred sit-ups a day. For others, the repetitive action is more challenging to give up. Find your balance and realize that with all types of exercise we get gentle abdominal action.
Hot yoga- although some women can do hot yoga all the way through pregnancy, you might consider moving to a gentler practice. Heated yoga can dehydrate you and is over-exerting for some. Consider a gentler practice and be sure to drink lots of water.