Support your Fertility with Summer Exercise
Summer weather provides ample opportunities to get outside and be active. Learn how can you increase both your fitness and fertility during this season's long days of sunshine.
One of the best things about summer’s warmer weather is the ability to be outside – and be active – for most of the season. Endless days of sunshine and vitamin D invite us to get outdoors and move. This can be a great time for everyone to begin more regular exercise habits, especially if you’re a woman looking to become pregnant.
In the absence of other chronic or serious medical conditions, weight is an important factor to consider when trying to conceive. Extra body fat can cause hormone levels to become unbalanced and hinder fertility. Excess fat tissue can also cause an increase in abnormal lipid and cholesterol levels, which can then inhibit healthy blood flow to the uterine lining and make it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant. (Being overweight can also hurt a man’s fertility, too.)
At the same time, being underweight can also be detrimental for fertility. Without adequate fat tissue, the body can struggle producing enough estrogen, which is the hormone responsible for regulating a woman’s reproductive cycle. Women who are underweight may have irregular cycles and/or cycles without ovulation.
Needless to say, maintaining a healthy weight and diet is vital to not only good overall health (and a strong, resilient brain!), but also boosted fertility. It’s important to increase vegetables and whole grains in your diet and watch your intake of refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and sweets. A nutritious diet supports fertility by stabilizing hormones, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
Exercise is a big part of the fertility equation. Not only does being active help maintain a healthy body weight, but exercise releases those ever-beneficial endorphins, which can help combat stress that may accompany the process of trying to conceive. Luckily, there’s no better time of year than right now to pull out your bike, lace up your tennis shoes, or head to the pool! It’s recommended to spend around 150 minutes a week doing moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (such as walking) or 75 minutes per week doing more vigorous-intensity exercise (like jogging).
Always remember that it’s important to remain balanced in your approach to exercise; sometimes it can become easy to get caught up in faddish workouts or push ourselves harder and faster. Ultimately, a body under physical stress can have the opposite desired effect when it comes to improving fertility.
Below are examples of ways to get outside and enjoy the summer sun…all while helping prepare your body for pregnancy.
1. Cardio: Among its many benefits, cardio activity helps increase blood flow to the body, which is essential for reproductive health. Try these (lap-free!) exercises in the pool, an outdoor regimen that requires no equipment, or a “summer fitness” bucket list.
- Try these great outdoor workouts
- Burn calories in the pool without doing laps
- Workout outside all summer long
2. Strength training: Building and maintaining muscle mass supports good alignment of your reproductive organs, while also increasing overall stamina and body strength. Find a park bench, grassy spot, and tree trunk for these 5 strength-training moves.
3. Yoga & Pilates: Both of these forms of exercise help strengthen core muscles and increase blood flow. Added benefits? They can be relaxing, de-stressing, and helpful preparation for flexibility needed during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Check out some fertility-enhancing yoga poses and sequences on our Pinterest page here.