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Houston Fertility Center

Understanding the Effects of Exercise on Fertility

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on March 16, 2016

Woman stretching for a workoutIt can be devastating to try to conceive month after month, only to see negative pregnancy test results month after month. Understandably, when couples face infertility, they want to know the cause of the problem. The truth is, there are several factors that can impact a man or woman’s fertility, and it is not always possible to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem. Infertility treatments increase a couple’s chances of conception by assisting the process and bypassing many of the potential sources of infertility. However, some people may find that making changes to their routines and lifestyle habits can also help. Exercise is one factor that may have an effect on your fertility. Dr. Sonja Kristiansen discusses how exercise affects your fertility and offers our Houston, TX patients some guidelines to consider when it comes to their personal exercise routine.

Is Exercise Good or Bad for Fertility?

It is not really possible to definitively say that exercise is either good or bad for fertility. There are obvious benefits to exercise that include a positive impact on one’s overall health, a decrease in stress, and maintaining a weight that falls within a healthy BMI range. These benefits would suggest that exercise should be good for fertility. However, there have been studies that show that an excess of vigorous exercise may actually have a negative impact on fertility, and can also have a negative impact on fertility treatment.

Because there are no clear findings on exactly how exercise affects fertility, and since there are several health benefits to an active lifestyle, most doctors will not recommend giving up exercise altogether, even if fertility is an issue. However, women concerned about the effects of exercise on fertility may want to consider the following guidelines:

  • Individuals within a healthy weight range: People who have a healthy BMI probably do not need to worry so much about limiting exercise. These individuals should follow the basic guidelines of working out roughly 30 minutes (preferably no more than 60 minutes), five times a week. However, if women within a healthy weight range are experiencing an irregular menstrual cycle, or have been unsuccessful in conceiving after several months of trying, it may be a good idea to cut back the duration or intensity of the workout routine.
  • Individuals who are underweight: There is a clear link between fertility and a healthy BMI, so those who are underweight may want to take steps to reach a weight that falls within the normal BMI range. Aside from increasing calories, these individuals may consider decreasing the length or intensity of exercise routines, especially if they are experiencing fertility problems.
  • Individuals who are overweight: Individuals who are overweight can benefit from cutting back on calories and gradually increasing their workout routine. The closer a person can get to his or her ideal weight range, the more likely that fertility will improve. Still, it is a good idea to keep general exercise guidelines in mind, and to build up the body’s tolerance slowly.
  • Individuals undergoing fertility treatment: In most cases, individuals undergoing fertility treatment are advised to err on the side of caution. Although it is not necessary to completely cut out exercise, it is a good idea to limit workouts to 30 minutes a day, and to focus on low-impact activities, such as walking and yoga. This is also not a good time to start up a new exercise routine, especially if it is one that is vigorous.

Schedule a Consultation

If you have been trying to get pregnant for several months or more, with unsuccessful results, it may be time to consider fertility treatment. Dr. Sonja Kristiansen specializes in male and female infertility and offers a comprehensive range of infertility treatments that can assist patients with a variety of fertility issues. To learn more about these infertility treatments and how they may help you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kristiansen at your earliest convenience.

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