Fertility Exercise – why?
Exercise helps everyone maintain a healthy weight and metabolic rate. Fertility exercise oxygenates the body, removes toxins, encourages ovulation and helps to maintain flexibility to the uterus and fallopian tubes. It supports a good nights sleep and helps depression, anxiety, and hormonal balance. Like complementary therapies fertility exercise helps release endorphins, serotonin and other relax promoting stress hormones, which will naturally encourage hormone balance and your ability to conceive. Several hours before ovulation, the pituitary gland normally sends out a surge of LH (leutenising hormone) which causes the ovary’s follicle to release an egg. Stress can signal the pituitary gland that your body is in trouble, which slows the release of LH, which may then disrupt ovulation. Even if ovulation occurs, a shortage of LH could mean a shortage of progesterone, which is necessary to nourish and sustain a fertilized egg.
A 2007 article in “Obstetrics and Gynecology” states that combining a healthy diet, exercise and weight management can lead to a 69% lower chance of ovulatory disorder infertility than women who do not subscribe to these lifestyle changes.
Yoga for Fertility
I am an advocate of yoga and have trained in womb yoga. I believe yoga is the ideal fertility exercise throughout the journey to parenthood. Yoga oxygenates and stretches the mind and body whilst building strength, balance, endurance, and muscle tone. Another bonus – it helps you relax . Muriel from MuMuYoga agrees with me here. So much so, she has kindly provided a series of fertility yoga poses for Creation Fertility , the first are within my blog Trying to conceive. Muriel’s philosophy is simple, make time to stretch and relax to remove tensions, stress and emotional barriers to free up the body and mind. This can open up the pathways to conception and healthy pregnancy. The benefits of yoga can be felt straight away after a few poses but to have a feeling of long lasting well-being and the desired effects, commitment and regular practice is mandatory
Cat /Cow yoga pose increases blood flow to reproductive organs and energy in the pelvis, releasing deeply held tensions in the pelvic area, massages all internal organs including reproductive organs, calms the nervous system
Bridge pose aids conception by releasing inner tensions in chest, abdomen and pelvis and opens up and expands the front body, improves circulation and better flow to the reproductive organs, effects hormonal balance positively.
Does your current exercise support fertility?
Do you like dancing?
Well don’t stop! Dancing is a great way to connect with your inner feelings, clear energy through music and release negative thoughts whilst exercising those abdominal muscles. Have you tried chakra dancing or 5 rhythms?
Chakra Dancing: Intuitive dancing helping you re-harmonise by releasing tension and emotional stress, free up the natural flow of energy, chi/prana and balance the seven major energy centres/chakras. Chakra dance considers that we all vibrate at many different frequencies, which can be linked to specific areas of the body and the endocrine system.
5 Rhythms: is a form of dance and movement meditation practice created by Gabrielle Roth. Through working through the 5 Rhythms (flowing, saccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness) it forms a wave of movement to restore harmony. Working with moon energy I have found both chakra dancing and 5 rhythms integrates well with the menstrual flow and fertility tension.
Are You a Team Player?
There’s no reason to give up non contact forms of exercise whilst trying to conceive, such as tennis, badminton & netball because they offer short bursts of intense movement over a period of a game. They support your mental health too – sharing time with friends and team players, consciously working towards a goal and hopefully encouraging laughter and positive thoughts but stretch and oxygenate and providing they are played outside encourage vitamin D absorption – a must for fertility
Fantastic forms of exercise providing they are MODERATE or Low IMPACT. Remember, excessive cycling can raise body temperature in the groin area — and that can decrease sperm production and sperm count. Lycra is a particular concern in terms of male-factor infertility because of the tight-fitting training clothes. Also remember if you cycle there will be constant, prolonged contact between the saddle and the testicles so read Supporting Sperm Health to encourage the correct fertility exercise
Don’t start new activites such as horseriding, scuba diving and contact sports during this time!
Testicles remain at a temperature of 96 degrees but through over-training they may become too warm. This can lead to sperm dysfunction – low sperm count, motility and possibly poor sperm morphology.
Women who over train can suffer with reduced ovulation and oligomenorrhea (no menstruation). Too much exercise can reduce progesterone production during the luteal phase (after ovulation) of the menstrual cycle. Low levels of progesterone can interfere with a fertilized egg implanting.
For both men and women long term intense exercise raises the stress hormone adrenaline which impacts on hormone balance and reduces appetite. Even if you still have your period listen to your body and don’t overtrain!
So remember FERTILITY EXERCISE when trying to conceive (TTC), especially using assisted conception
Avoid saunas and hot tubs
Trampolining, step aerobics and running will increase your risk of ovarian torsion particularly 5-7 days after stimulation.
Aim for a target heart rate of 120-130 bpm from stimulation to one week post transfer
Gentle exercise is considered safe throughout natural fertility and conception. However, exercise recommendations should be agreed dependent on your specific needs. Assisted conception procedures do not recommend any exercise leading up to egg retrieval or on the day of transfer. Post transfer recommendations depend on your specific protocol.
Muriel from MuMuYoga is a British Wheel of Yoga Teacher, yoga therapist, pregnancy and fertility yoga teacher and chakra dance teacher. She has been teaching women of all ages and during all stages of their lives for over 15 years.
Justine Evans ND, BSc N Med – Fertility Expert & Hormone Alchemist is the Founder of Creation Fertility and its products. Justine offers a multi dimensional approach to fertility blending Nutritional Therapy with alchemy and yogic philosophy. Call 07747 133170 to book an appointment with her now
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