How does exercise help fertility pregnancy?
Irrespective of whether or not you are trying to get pregnant, exercise is good for your overall health, and this is likely to impact on your fertility.
It produces endorphins Mood-boosting endorphins, biochemical compounds, are produced by the pituitary gland in response to aerobic exercise. Because endorphins reduce pain and give a sense of well-being, they are often referred to as the body’s natural painkillers. If you exercise regularly, you will notice that you feel energized and optimistic after a good workout, even if you were tired and lethargic before starting. This improves your chances of getting pregnant as you will have more energy for sex.
It relieves stress When endorphins are racing around your bloodstream after exercise, they lower stress levels and give you a sense of elation. This feeling can last several hours, if not all day, and the more this happens regularly, the more your stress will be reduced on a permanent basis, and that will be good for your fertility (82).
It helps digestion The fact that you move around much more when you exercise significantly reduces digestive problems, such as constipation and the bloating and poor digestion that can accompany a sluggish intestine. If food passes through you more quickly you will feel better, and are less likely to suffer from heartburn and indigestion. That said, avoid exercising just after a meal because while you are digesting, blood flow is concentrated in the stomach. Exercise will disrupt the process and may make you feel light-headed.
It controls blood sugar Exercise helps keep your blood sugar levels stable, because insulin secretion (from the pancreas) is more effective during bouts of physical activity. Regular exercise increases the number of insulin receptors in your cells. Insulin attaches to these receptors so that sugar can pass from the blood into other cells in the body. Having more receptors makes the body more sensitive to insulin and, as a result, insulin works more efficiently and you will need less of it.
Of course, the release of adrenaline during exercise also causes blood sugar levels to rise temporarily, as sugar (in the form of glycogen) is released from the stores in the muscles and liver. But in this situation you will not get the blood sugar high and then the ensuing crash that you might get when you eat sugary foods, for example. There will be a more gradual readjustment of blood sugar levels. And the fitter you are, the slower the drop will be.
It is good for blood flow Exercise increases lung capacity and builds up heart muscle, as well as other muscles, and this enables blood to be pumped round the body more effectively. As a result, every part of your body is well supplied with nutrients and oxygen in the blood, and uses them more efficiently; and waste product from dead or damaged cells is eliminated. In this way, your body regenerates itself and heals more quickly. Exercise does not put a strain on your body’s systems. On the contrary, it makes them work better and more easily, and that can only be good for your overall health and good for your fertility.
It is good for weight management Whether you do aerobic or anaerobic exercise, you will work your muscles and raise your heart rate, and this will burn calories and help control weight, even if you are eating the same amount as you normally do. This is a wonderful way of avoiding the yo-yo dieting that so many women experience. Your weight loss is more likely to be permanent and your health improved on a long-term basis.
It helps the immune system Moderate exercise has been shown to improve the positive immune system response and to boost the production of cells that attack bacteria. Consequently, regular exercise can lead to substantial benefits in the immune system’s well-being. It is worth noting, however, that excessive, intense exercise has the opposite effect on the immune system because the body then produces excessive amounts of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and these raise blood pressure and cholesterol levels and suppress the immune system.
find out more: how much exercise pregnancy?
Ideally, you should be doing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week, and some resistance exercise such as gym work twice a week. I’m realistic enough, however, to know that this might not be possible for a lot of people. Exercising three times a week in some shape or form, and for a minimum of 20 minutes, will still improve your level of fitness and stamina, tone your muscles, and benefit your health in general. The exercise you do should be of moderate intensity. As a rule of thumb, this means that it makes you a little warm and sweaty, and slightly out of breath as your heart and breathing rates increase.
Whatever forms of exercise you choose, try to find activities that you enjoy and then do them on a regular basis to make the most of your good intentions. It doesn’t matter whether you do a modern dance class, join a gym, or go riding – as long as you enjoy your exercise, you are more likely to want to keep it up. We have all started a new activity with the best of intentions, then given up after only a few weeks because it doesn’t really fit in with our lives. Before you begin, think carefully about what you choose to do.
66% of adults do not exercise regularly
Bear in mind that walking to the next tube or bus stop on your way to work or climbing stairs rather than using a lift or even doing some vigorous housework can each count as one of your weekly activities.
Avoid exercising to exhaustion
Avoid overheating from excessive exercise or from saunas or steam rooms (this is also important for men). Keep your weight/BMI within normal limits (13).
If you think reducing your exercise regime would be difficult to achieve, you could be overdoing it. As ever, it is a question of keeping the right balance.
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