The right amount of exercise for your fertility (are you overdoing it?)
With all the mini marathons, 5K’s, triathlons, new fitness centers, online yoga, spin classes, barre classes, yoga studios, HIIT workouts and overall influx of people putting on their best yoga pants and joggers, it’s not so uncommon for women to “overdo” it on exercise— regardless of weight.
On the other end of the spectrum, not ever working out or getting movement in isn’t so great either. Even still, overdoing it might be negatively impacting your menstrual cycle, which would mean it’s affecting your fertility. How much working out is “too much” is unique from person to person but there are some general guidelines to keep yourself in check. Before we share those guidelines, we should mention that how much you workout is only a slice of the wellness pie, just like how BMI can’t tell you everything about your health, neither can your weekly workout routine. (See our artilce on BMI and fertility here.
Are my workouts too intense?
If you are consistently exhausted, feel fatigue or pain in your joints, or have been getting sick often, then you might be overdoing it during your sessions. If you are taking more than a day or two to recover, you also might be overdoing it. If you’re still unsure, take a look at your menstrual cycle. Women who have a higher intensity workout along with higher frequency tend to have more irregular periods regardless of outside factors like smoking, age, or BMI. This implies that the intensity and frequency of your workouts could impact your fertility no matter how healthy you otherwise are. Basically, you could be healthy and athletic, eating well and taking good care of yourself by all other standards, but still have difficulty conceiving if you’re going too hard in the gym every week.
Are my workouts too frequent?
Along with the question of intensity comes frequency. How often is too often? Your body needs rest, whether you’re worried about fertility or not. Actually, rest is when your body rebuilds and gets stronger so setting aside time for rest should already be a part of your weekly routine. You really don’t need to be doing more than three to four days a week of full on sweaty workouts. To determine what is too much and what isn’t still depends on the kind of workouts you are doing throughout the week. Cardio and muscle building, for example, usually puts strain on the body, so consider taking at least two to three days off per week. Your doctor or nurse might suggest otherwise according to your unique needs.
I get too antsy, I need to workout! What should I do?
Try incorporating some more mild activities into your rest days. Yin or restorative yoga, a walk around the block, cruising around on a bike to get coffee, or even just cleaning out your apartment to some upbeat music can get you moving without breaking a sweat. The idea is to allow yourself time to refresh so your body can do it’s thing.
Is there a workout I can do to boost my fertility?
Despite what clickbait articles you may have seen it’s unlikely there is any one yoga pose or type of workout that is going to help get your eggs prime for harvesting. Besides, the point here is to give yourself space and rest to let your body do its natural thing.
Your reproductive health isn’t separate from your overall health. All of it is you, it’s your body and you’ve got to show it all the love and treatment it deserves for working so hard all the time. Not enough exercise isn’t good. Too much exercise isn’t good. As with most things, your wellness is all about bringing in balance. Move when you gotta move and chill when you need to chill.