Exercise to improve your fertility

Evidence suggests that moderate regular exercise i.e. 30 minutes on most days of the week, positively influences fertility and assisted reproductive technology (ART)

In a study of 26,955 women, vigorous activity was associated with reduced risk of ovulatory infertility.1

Cycling for males, can be negative for the sperm concentration and their ability to swim, both of these parameters were shown to be decreased in males who cycled for five or more hours per week. 2

So what is the right amount of exercise?

Of course this is a very individual recommendation, dependant on your current weight and your fitness level. As a general rule though, following national and international evidence-based physical activity guidelines is recommended. This includes at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days. Choosing a combination of cardiovascular exercise along with walking and some resistance exercises to build muscle mass will assist you in improving your fertility and reduce the risk of miscarriage.

More importantly, develop a program that you enjoy and that you can stick with! Both yoga and walking are wonderful to continue on with in pregnancy so these are excellent exercises to include in your preconception exercise routine.

Exercise has a beneficial impact on appetite, and provides long-term health benefits. For most patients it is recommended to aim for, or build up to, 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, that is where you’re puffing but can still talk, at least four days per week. Activities can include a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise such as:

• Walking
• Yoga/Pilates
• Swimming
• Weight bearing exercises

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1. Rich-Edwards JW, Spiegelman D, Garland M, Hertzmark E, Hunter DJ, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Wand H, Manson JE 2002. “Physical activity, body mass index, and ovulatory disorder infertility.” Epidemiology 13:184-190. The Fertility Society of Australia.
2. Wise LA, Cramer DW, Hornstein MD, Ashby RK, Missmer SA 2011. “Physical activity and semen quality among men attending an infertility clinic.” Fertil Steril 95:1025-1030. The Fertility Society of Australia.

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