Exercise is pivotal to preconception health, and helping your body become fit and healthy before conception is of utmost importance—both in the aspect of fertility and also in the ability to carry a pregnancy without the constant struggles or feeling worn out and sore. Taking just a bit of time each day will go a long way in helping your body support ovulation, conception, and pregnancy.
Increase your overall activity if you are currently sedentary– this allows your body to work out in a gentle way, causing no shock to it. You can begin increasing overall activity by simply walking just a little bit further, going on hikes with your spouse, going bowling (ever been sore the day after?!), riding bikes, parking a bit further from the stores, using the stairs instead of the elevator, etc.
1. Moderate Cardio (walking, jogging, aerobics) – making sure you do not over exercise and do what feels comfortable. (Though it is called a workout, so mild discomfort may be necessary!) Cardio also helps increase blood flow to the body, which is essential for reproductive health. What does this look like? I’d say walking or lightly jogging for about 30 minutes each day. Moving enough to break a sweat and get your heart rate up, but not exhaust your body.
2. Strength Training – allows your body to increase muscle mass thereby supporting your reproductive organs (helping to keep everything aligned well) and increasing stamina and strength.
3. Yoga and Pilates – both very gentle forms of exercise that help strengthen your core muscles and increase blood flow. Also very relaxing and great for slowing down and de-stressing. For the natural fertility Workshop, my friend Jennifer allowed me to make a few different videos of her walking me through 5 different yoga poses known to help enhance fertility. The following sneak peak from the class is the pose “Upavista konasana” meaning extended wide angle pose. This seated posture stimulates the ovaries and helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and bring circulation to the pelvic organs.
4. Stretching and Flexibility – it’s very important to allow your muscles to stretch before and after a workout to help prevent injury. It helps your muscles release certain natural chemical properties that contribute to muscle pain. This also allows your body to better mold itself during pregnancy and assists in labor and delivery.
While there is no ‘magic’ exercise that will take care of an issue relating to infertility, but it is an important piece in healing the whole body. Office work and our industrialized society has had an effect on our activity levels.
We desperately need to move more.
But the common workouts in a gym are often times not as beneficial to fertility as we would hope and many tend to become obsessed with harder, faster, stronger workouts and we sway to the opposite end of the spectrum. You are the only one that knows what your body needs. You know if you’re being lazy and making excuses, just like you know when it starts taking over your life. Be your own compass and follow your bodies lead….just move!
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