“Burpees to babies? Fitness to Fertility? How your sweat sesh may help lead to pregnancy.” | myMindBodyBaby
Fitness to fertility?!
Yep, that’s right. Runners, rejoice! Cardio chicas, clap! Lunge lovers…ok, you get picture. Science has spoken! Research in Fertility and Sterility has shown moderate exercise may help increase your chances of getting pregnant. For some of you this is good news (yay – no need to ditch your Saturday morning Zumba while dreaming of baby booties!) – others, I can hear your resigned sigh from here.
But I hate burpees.
Not a fan of getting your sweat on? Exercise doesn’t have to be a boring 30 minutes on the treadmill or enduring Super-Fit-Susie, the annoying spin instructor. There are lots of different options to not only better match your flavor-of-fitness, but also work with your schedule.
Moderate you say. Explain.
First of all, we’re not talking marathon training here. However, moderate exercise does mean breaking a sweat and some huffing and puffing – but still being able to gab in short sentences to your workout buddy. Also, we’re talking a goal of 20-30 minutes, 5-6 days a week.
Almost every day? Are you NUTS?!
If you’re starting at zero, working up to 5-6 days may seem herculean. But it doesn’t have to be! There are lots of ways to fit in exercise throughout your week. And any exercise is better than no exercise. Can only handle 10 minutes? Better than nothing!
Normally walk the dog? Up your pace and add in a couple of extra loops around the ‘hood (or add lunges to the walk). Making a date to catch up with a gal pal? Suggest a walk instead of coffee, or try my In the Park workout. Want to convince your baby-daddy-to-be to join you? Show him this study in the journal Reproduction, explaining that the quality of “his boys” (talking sperm here) is linked to maintaining a healthy weight, so joining you for that jog can help him along his way to one day getting a Best Dad Ever mug on Father’s Day.
This next one may not be a fan favorite, but I swear once you get into the routine you feel more optimistic and energized throughout your day: set your alarm clock 20-30 minutes earlier, throw on your workout gear (get it out the night before), and do one of my at home workout options. Gym at work? (Lucky you!) Schedule a workout or two throughout the week, like you do meetings, and take advantage of your dry shampoo post workout!
Now that you’ve fit in some exercise, you’ll feel like superwoman the rest of the day! Even more, it may even give you the willpower not to grab that coffee room donut.
Not convinced of this whole fitness to fertility thing – prove it sista.
Studies now show that moderate exercise can help improve reproductive function (it can also help reduce labour and delivery time, but I’ll save those fun facts for a different blog!). Alternatively, intense, vigorous activity may delay the time it takes to conceive.
Ok, confusing. What gives?
First of all, let’s look at some of the reasons exercise can help you along your baby-making journey.
1. Fat and Ovulation:
Some studies look at Body Mass Index (BMI), however this doesn’t take into account body composition (muscle weighs more than fat!). A better approach has been to look at body fat – too low (under 12%) and too high (over 30-35%) has been linked to impaired ovulation. One way to manage body fat – exercise! Moderation is the key – extreme exercise can actually lower progesterone which can have a negative effect on time to conceive.
If you’re falling in the under 12% zone you can try upping your calorie intake and cutting back on high intensity exercise.
In contrast, if you’re in the 30%+ camp, look at where you can cut out some of the needless and empty calories (aka junk food) and slowly build up your exercise frequency and duration.
2. Manage Stress:
Stress is unavoidable. Everyone has some stress, but high levels of continuous stress have been linked to lower fertility rates. I know, I know – some of you are thinking – I’m already stressed about getting pregnant and now you tell me to cut back on stress… which is even more stressful. Not helpful. But there are different tactics to help manage stress.
Or, while we’re on the topic of sweating-it-out, what better way to relieve stress than with a pair of boxing gloves? Boxing not your thang? How about a brisk walk with your bestie? Or a few more namastes in your life? Or how about a time-flexible, equipment-free myMindBodyBaby workout you can do in your living room? 🙂
3. Benefit Metabolism and Circulation:
You guessed it, exercise has been shown to benefit egg health and promote healthy, oxygenated blood flow to the uterus! Plus it amps up your metabolism.
4. Reduce Inflammation:
Inflammation seems to almost be a buzz word lately. Inflammation…nooo…bad! Actually, some inflammation is necessary for normal cellular function when it comes to fertility. New cells being made- there’s some inflammation. Have you period? There’s some inflammation. Just had a baby? You guessed it, inflammation!
But excessive inflammation? Not so good. In fact, there are a number of fertility issues associated with chronic inflammation (PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids… to name a few). The link to exercise? ScienceDirect reports researchers have found that even 20 minutes of exercise can have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
Alright. I’m almost convinced.
Seems like you need another benefit! Diabetes Canada reports between 3-20% of women develop gestational diabetes (GD). Have you heard of that test you’ll have to do around 25 weeks into the pregnancy? You know, that gross orange drink that you have to gag down and then have your blood tested? Want to reduce the risk of GD? You know what I’m going to say… exercise! Research has shown the risk of GD can be reduced with exercise and maintain fitness levels.
Ok – you’ve got me, I’m on board!
In conclusion, if you’re ready to give this whole sweating thing a try, here’s a super easy 20 minute workout you can do anywhere:
20 Minute Workout
Throw on your favorite pump-me-up mix of tunes and get started!
- 3 Minute Warm Up: this is to get your blood pumping and you can choose whatever you like – dance around, squat it out, mix up some jumping jacks, running on the spot. You get the idea!
- Repeat this circuit twice:
- Lunge with Overhead Reach (10 each side)
- 10 Jumping Jacks (or step jacks) with 10 plié squats – 15s rest, then repeat
- 5 Push Ups (toes or on knees) with 5 Plank to T – 15s rest, then repeat
- Sumo Squat with Front Kicks (10 total) – 15s rest, then repeat
- Fast Feet for 30s
- Air Skipping 30s
- Right Side Plank with Hip Dips 30s – repeat on left
- Bicycle Crunches 30s
- Cool Down: 1 minute of your fave cool down moves – try step touch, side taps and reach, walking, grooving
- Stretch: 2 minutes
Happy sweating! Like what you’ve read in Burpees to babies? Fitness to Fertility? How your sweat sesh may help lead to pregnancy. then share with your fave workout buddy – or that mama-to-be who could use a little sweat in their life!