It's time to start planning for conception
Exercise for fertility is not a new concept. Studies have found that exercise has many benefits including improvements in sleep, cardiovascular health and muscle strength - all of which are important factors to maintain when you are trying to conceive. However, there appears to be one specific type of exercise that can improve your chances at conception: weight training.
A recent study by Hackney et al (2013) compared the impact of different types of physical activity on women's ability to become pregnant over 12 months. The results showed evidence that regular aerobic activities reduced the time it took participants who were already ovulating regularly, but did NOT reduce their age related decline in fertility or improve their live birth rates.
In contrast, the group who did resistance training (weight lifting) improved all measures of fertility, including ovulation frequency and egg quality. These women also had a higher rate of live births than the aerobic activity group.
What does this mean for you? It means that if you are trying to conceive, it is important to incorporate regular exercise into your routine - especially weightlifting! However, any type of physical activity is better than nothing so don't feel discouraged if you can't commit to a specific routine right away. Just try to be as active as possible and see how your body responds.
How much exercise do I need?
Now that we know why pre-conception exercise is important, the next question is - how much exercise do you need? The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including your current fitness level, weight and the type of exercise you are doing.
Generally speaking, it is recommended that women who are trying to conceive aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. If you are new to exercise or haven't been active in a while, start with 15-20 minutes and gradually work your way up. Remember that quality is more important than quantity so take your time and focus on enjoying your workout!
What specific types of exercises should I do?
The best exercise combination for fertility is one that incorporates both aerobic and resistance training. However, if you're not currently doing this type of exercise, you can still make some simple changes to your current routine. For example:
Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits for both the mother and baby. Some of these benefits include:
Postpartum recovery is an extremely important following birth yet it is often the most overlooked step in the pre-conception to postpartum journey. Exercise post-partum should focus on closing the abdominal muscles (diastasis recti), rebuilding strength in the pelvic floor and increasing overall strength and endurance.
Not only is postpartum exercise important for rehabilitation, but group classes can help new mothers find connection, and both the social outing and exercising can help with mental health in the postpartum period.
It is important for women to get the all clear from their medical team before commencing exercise, and for those who are physically active but stopped during their pregnancy it is recommended for them to ease back into exercise slowly, starting with simple movements like walking and stretching. Women who didn't regularly exercise prior to pregnancy are recommended consult a health professional before beginning any new exercise program after giving birth.
Exercise has many benefits post-pregnancy that can help you recover more quickly from childbirth, give your baby an optimal start in life AND improve your chances of conceiving again! This means it's time to get moving - even if only light resistance training, Pilates or yoga at first while you work up to more intense workouts over time. Remember though: always listen to your body when exercising and consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your current workout routine.
In conclusion: pre-conception exercise is crucial in order to optimise fertility potential as much as exercise during both pregnancy and postpartum recovery.. The key with all stages is quality over quantity so focus on enjoying yourself while exercising instead of going overboard with intensity or duration which can lead to injury or burnout. If there ever comes a time where you are unsure about what to do next, always consult a professional - our team of Tarragindi based physiotherapists and exercise physiologists would be more than happy to help, no matter what stage of the conception journey you're at! Give our friendly Brisbane Southside physios a call on 07 3706 3407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org