Pillarhealthcare_ImageWhen looking to boost your fertility, one would assume becoming as fit and healthy as possible is the ideal. This is somewhat true; however it’s not the entire picture.

As with everything, too much of a good thing isn’t good any more. Exercise can have a positive effect on the body when trying to conceive; it can help to keep weight at a healthy level and it can also help to reduce stress. However, if you’re planning on conceiving, then it may be worthwhile to consider that extreme exercise can lead to numerous issues that may affect your fertility.

Over exercising can have a negative effect on ovulation, causing the body not to ovulate regularly, this in turn reduces the chances of getting pregnant. There are many reasons why a female would not ovulate regularly and a few of them can be linked to over exertion on the body (physical and mental). Over exertion and over exercising can disrupt regular hormone balance. This disruption in hormone balance could lead to reduced progesterone production during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. This can then lead to ‘Luteal Phase Defect’ (LPD).

As mentioned previously, exercise can be good for the body and for conceiving when it’s done in moderation. If you are planning on conceiving and currently partake in a regular high intensity exercise regime, it would be recommended that you discuss this regime with your healthcare provider.

Of course, the opposite of over training is under training. In general terms, under training is probably worse than over training. In today’s society, we have become very inactive. The advantage of cars and public transport means we don’t walk or cycle. We tend to be stationary in our jobs and for most, have quite a commute each day. This, coupled with poor dietary and food choices have increased the likelihood for us to be carrying extra weight – if not too much. As discussed in our last article in My Fertility Specialist magazine, about BMI and weight, being overweight will seriously hamper your fertility. Being overweight will interfere with your hormonal cycle and also cell development – the double negative whammy.

Goldilocks! This is a phrase I use when we need to strike a balance. Fertility enhancing exercise definitely falls into this category. For example, having a very low body fat percentage will impair ovulation in women and sperm production in men. Being overweight can create an imbalance in the hormonal profiles of men and women!

The World Health Organisation state that:
• Adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
• For additional health benefits, adults should increase their moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or engage in 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity
• This exercise can be cardio based, weight based or in my opinion, a combination works best as they each have different health benefits
This is what I would be aiming for. Exercise or training is and never should be a direct science for the novice or the health enthusiast. For most, it is a means to an end and should be enjoyed where possible.

For more on this topic, please subscribe to the May issue of My Fertility Specialist and read Mark and Gareth’s column.

Mark Whitney & Gareth Zeal

Mark Whitney from Pillar Healthcare Ltd and Gareth Zeal, expert in nutrition and natural medicine, write a regular column for My Fertility Specialist on nutrition and fitness. For more information about Mark, click http://pillarhealthcare.com/ and for Gareth, click http://www.optimumnutritionists.com/pages/nutritionists/gareth-zeal–sports-nutritionist-london.php