General Benefits of Exercising
Exercise has many benefits that include increasing energy levels, improvement of general mood, self-confidence and posture. Regular exercise may also improve sleep disorders, bloating, constipation and headaches.
In the long run, the risks of having cardiovascular disease and diabetes decrease significantly.
Exercise also has a substantial impact on the management of stress, which is common in women trying to conceive. Stress results in the release of cortisol and catecholamines (adrenaline and noradrenaline) that result in constriction of blood vessels, increase in sugar levels, metabolic rate, pulse and blood pressure.
Regular physical activity can lessen such deleterious effects by releasing endorphins, improving circulation, blocking the release of excessive cortisol and catecholamines.
Overall, blood flow is increased to the uterus and the ovaries, resulting in better egg quality and embryo implantation.
Different amounts of physical activity can influence fertility and pregnancy outcome. Excessive or lack of exercise may result in decreased fertility by negatively impacting ovulation, menstrual cycles as well as egg and sperm quality.
Having a low or high Body Mass Index (BMI) can affect sperm concentration and count. Eating healthy and maintaining a healthy BMI is important. If you’re overweight, try to reduce the weight as obesity may be linked with infertility.
Exercising during Pregnancy
Women should be encouraged to exercise regularly in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle along with a balanced diet when trying to conceive and also during the pregnancy.
Pregnancy is not a good time to start exercising vigorously if one has never exercised before.
Exercise should be started before the pregnancy and continued in moderation throughout the pregnancy and the postpartum period. While exercising, it is recommended to keep hydrated and avoid overheating in the first trimester.
It’s important to avoid trauma during pregnancy that may be more prevalent in sports such as: basketball, soccer, horse riding and racquet sports. These types of activities are acceptable prior to the pregnancy as they can increase the heart rate, cardiac output and improve fertility outcome.
Walking, cycling, fitness training with light weights, swimming and yoga are acceptable types of exercise prior to and during the pregnancy.
Running is also an excellent way to stimulate fertility by reducing the stress level and improving circulation, but excessive running results in ovulation problems.