Exercise, How Much Is Too Much for Fertility?

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One of the most common and effective ways for stress reduction is exercise.  It's one of the best ways to help manage stress, a quick run after work or an hour of boot camp quickly drains the stresses of the day.  When people are trying to conceive, how much exercise is too much? Will it effect your fertility?


How exercise effects fertility is a difficult question to answer and has little research providing guidelines.  There has been a study showing strenuous exercise having a negative impact on IVF pregnancy outcomes. 

The study showed that "intense cardiovascular exercise such as running, cycling and stair climbing, was detrimental to IVF outcomes".   The study was made up of over 2,200 undergoing their first IVF cycles at one of 3 different clinics all in the same city of Boston.  


The reproductive system in both women and men is a sensitive area.  Both too much and too little exercise can detrimentally affect it.  So how do you know what is right for you?


In my practice I find some women need to exercise more while others less, it depend on the individual and their habits leading up to this point.  Exercise is a great way to help decrease stress, increase blood flow and positively impact their fertility.  Only when done excessively will it pose a possible detriment.  


Non-strenuous exercise such as yoga, light jogging/biking, non-aggressive weight lifting and swimming are all likely very healthy and beneficial to your fertility.  



Women undergoing IVF often use exercise to help decrease their stress levels.  Anyone who has undergone such fertility treatments know how much added stress this creates.  Taking away one of your stress relief outlets makes things even more difficult.  Finding other methods that help can be a real lifesaver during these times.  Acupuncture is an extremely useful tool to help boost your IVF success but also help reduce stress levels.  Guided imagerymeditation and mindfulness can also be greatly appreciated during these stressful times.  



If you are trying to conceive and are having troubles finding out how much exercise is too much erring on the side of caution is a good thing.  Daily, regular exercise that is not too strenuous or intense will help boost your fertility.  




Dr. Ryan Funk

Doctor of Chinese Medicine