What type of exercise helps?
By Juliana Kassianos, Transformational Coach, Yoga Teacher and Founder of The School of Fertility
HOW CAN MOVEMENT HELP?
Improve circulation to your reproductive system
Reduce stress and anxiety
Boost your mood
Improve the quality of your sleep
Help you maintain a healthy weight
Tone muscles in preparation for pregnancy and birth
CAN I DO INTENSE WORKOUTS?
For women, intense exercise doesn’t support optimal physiology for pregnancy. The body can perceive it as a chronic stressor and experience short periods of energy deficiency.
To help create the best conditions for fertility, ditch exhausting workouts and instead focus on incorporating moderate physical activity into your day. Do a ‘talk test’ – you shouldn’t have difficulty carrying a conversation when exercising.
Research have shown that exercising more than usual during implantation can increase the risk of miscarriage, so make sure you don’t overdo it.
WHAT TYPE OF MODERATE MOVEMENT?
Restorative exercise like Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates, which are made up of slow, steady and sustained movement, help to tone your muscles, including those of your pelvic floor and feel more calm and relaxed.
Short bursts of high-intensity exercise
Although intense workouts are not recommended, short bursts of high-intensity exercise, like jumping jacks, skipping or stair-climbing are good to do. Just three minutes total, three times a week, can help you improve your circulation, cardio health and insulin sensitivity. Follow each of the three 60 second bursts, with 30 seconds of rest.
CREATE A MOVEMENT MENU
Write a list of inspiring movement options for different types of energy levels and time restraints, which you can incorporate into your daily life. Put the list somewhere in view, like on your fridge. Every morning ask yourself what type of movement your body wants to do today and choose a movement from your list. Schedule time in your day to do it. If you generally feel tired in the evening, make time in the morning. Set an alarm on your phone if you need a reminder. Don’t feel like it? Think of how great you’ll feel afterwards. Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate movement a day.
Movement Menu Sample
WHAT ARE YOUR SEDENTARY HABITS?
Make a list of all the times during the day when you’re sitting. This might be when you’re at work, on the train home or on the sofa in the evening. Think about how you could add micro-movements into the picture like stretching, sitting tall, rotating your ankles, getting up and taking a few more breaks etc.
GET MORE MOVEMENT INTO YOUR DAY BY...
Taking the stairs instead of using the elevator/escalator
Walking instead of using moving sidewalks or taking a taxi
Parking further away from the supermarket/shops
Incorporating more walking into your commute. For example, getting off the tube one stop earlier and walking the extra mile
Walking whilst speaking on the phone or having meetings
Getting up from your desk and having regular breaks at work
Taking a stroll during your lunch break
Doing cleaning and gardening yourself instead of hiring help
Going for a walk in nature with your partner at the weekends
Using ‘YouTube’ or Apps for home workout videos
DON’T LIKE EXERCISING?
Choose exercise you enjoy and that makes you feel great
Listen to music, podcasts or an audio-book whilst working out
If you’re at the gym, watch TV or ‘YouTube’ whilst working out
Create a daily exercise routine, it’s easier to stick too then
Do different types of exercise throughout the week
Try something new, like salsa dancing or pole dancing
Think about what could stop you from attending your classes or sticking to your exercise routine. Put things in place to make sure they don’t get in your way
Exercising with a friend or your partner is a great way to hold you accountable and can make it more enjoyable
Remember that even five minutes will benefit you, so don’t let lack of time be an excuse to not do any
MOVEMENT FOR MEN
Take regular moderate exercise as this will improve your overall health and reduce stress
Cycling more than five hours per week can reduce sperm mobility and concentration
Wear loose fitting underwear, shorts and trousers, as heat around the testicles can effect sperm production
• Lifestyle and Outcomes of Assisted Reproductive Techniques: A Narrative Review. Hamzehgardeshi Zeinab et al. Glob J Health Sci. 2015 Sep; 7(5): 11–22. https://www.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4803851/