Can Your Quest to be Fit Damage Your Fertility?
Exercise is good for the body and has a lot of benefits, but like everything else, too much of it can be bad, and problematic if you’re struggling with fertility.
Let’s start with the other end of the spectrum. Obesity can affect fertility, according to medical experts and can lower chances of childbearing.
How does your weight affect fertility?
Studies show that excess weight is linked to PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which is mostly found in young girls and women between the ages of 15 and 44.
PCOS is a disorder whereby the ovaries have too many cysts that inhibit it from proper ovulation. It’s associated with weight gain, insulin resistance (so diabetes) and excess hair on the body.
According to them, there are other things about weight gain or obesity in itself that negatively affects fertility. Excess weight or excess fat means that you’ll have excess estrogen. Too much estrogen also messes up your ovulation and menstrual cycle, as it is imperative that there is a constant balance between the estrogen and progesterone levels (the two most important hormones for female reproduction) in the body for proper ovulation, menstruation and fertility.
Excess weight in men has also been linked to impaired semen quality, sexual dysfunction (ED), depleted hormones needed for reproduction.
Are you exercising too much?
While we have established that being overweight can be problematic for fertility, exercising too much- at least four hours a week can also cause fertility problems. Regular and moderate exercise like yoga, walking or being active while doing household chores have been known to increase fertility while heavy lifting, vigorous and strenuous exercise can lead to a decrease in fertility, but increase its chances for people who are overweight.
It is imperative to find a balance that increases one’s chances.
Which exercises are better for fertility?
For people of moderate weight, there isn’t one exercise that’s known to be beneficial for fertility, and of course, other factors- like diet, affects one’s fertility rate. However, there are a few exercises that might help increase fertility.
Please note that excessive is not limited to the gym or an exercise class. Anything that makes you breathe faster, increases your heart rate and makes you feel warmer can be classified as exercise. Exercises like yoga, swimming, brisk walking, and dancing can be classified as light or moderate exercise. Cut down on strenuous exercise which includes anything that causes you to breathe hard and fast.
Other steps you can take to be more active is to avoid sitting down as much as possible, walking or cycling to work, taking the stairs, taking long walks, and also monitoring your steps. There are apps and devices that enable us to do that.
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