Physical exercise has long been considered to be helpful to one's mental health and well-being. Exercise aids in the maintenance of a healthier weight, promotes physical fitness, and improves general mood. In the case of female fertility, however, intense exercise may have a significant impact, particularly where there is an energy deficit. Female fertility is influenced by body weight and body fat distribution. According to studies, maintaining a BMI (body mass index) of 20 to 24.9 is essential for optimum reproduction and daily ovulation. For menarche, a minimum of 17 percent body fat is required, and for ovulation maintenance, a minimum of 22 percent is required. When the levels drop below this, ovulatory disruptions and menstrual abnormalities develop, making pregnancy challenging.
It has been identified that reproductive dysfunction is caused by metabolic adaptations induced by an energy deficit, which modify the normal development and pulsatility of reproductive hormones at all levels of the hypothalamic–pituitary–ovarian (HPO) axis in an attempt to preserve energy. As a consequence, estrogen and progesterone levels drop, resulting in a variety of exercise-related menstrual problems (EAMD).
Medical reproductive complications of EAMD include slowed follicular development and oocyte maturation, poor endometrial function, accidental abortion, and infertility. Exercise-induced menstrual irregularities are responsible for around 6% of infertility in couples.
Excessive exercise can lead to infertility for a variety of reasons:
Luteal phase defects shorten the post-ovulatory phase.
Low progesterone levels in the post-ovulatory process - progesterone is needed to prepare the uterine lining for implantation and to support the pregnancy. Bad implantation can occur if the levels are too low.
GnRH, FSH, LH, and estradiol, which are responsible for ovulation, are suppressed, resulting in ovulatory dysfunction.
The hormone leptin is suppressed, interfering with appetite and affecting the consumption of nutritious fats and sufficient calories.
The below are some of the benefits of exercise:
Weekly aerobic exercise of seven hours or more can raise the risk of ovulatory problems.
In women of average weight, vigorous exercise can reduce fertility.
Moderate workout that lasts more than an hour but less than five hours a week boosts fertility in all women.
IVF success rates are lower when you workout for more than four hours a week.
When preparing to conceive, the following exercises are recommended:
Reduce the intensity while you are working out for more than four hours. Moderate fitness should be used to replace any of the exercises.
If you need to lose weight, keep strenuous workouts to 4 hours a week.
If you're overweight, even a 10% weight loss will help you conceive.
Even before a typical BMI is met, there is an improvement in pregnancy and fertility advantages.
The recommendation is to work your way up to:
At least 150 minutes of mild physical activity per week, as well as strength workouts that target all main muscles on two or four days per week.
The good news
The issue isn't about exercise! Exercise has been studied to see if there is something fundamentally problematic about it, and the study seems to show that there isn't. It's all about the electricity gap. The positive news is that you should be able to sustain a stable cycle if you are careful about consuming enough calories to account for your exercise levels. Exercise does not seem to damage fertility in the long run. Since energy deficiency is the primary cause of menstrual irregularities, rehabilitation occurs when the energy balance is restored. It might not be anything if you need to add weight! Gaining five or ten pounds can be all that lies between you and good fitness and fertility.
Men and exercise
There is insufficient evidence to link physical activity to male infertility. Intense activity has been linked to a reduction in sperm concentration and motility. Being overweight in men may have an effect on the consistency and quantities of their sperm. The most effective method for improving sperm production was found to be low intensity continuous training. Consult a pregnancy specialist if you believe your weight is a factor in your failure to conceive.
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