Regular exercise should be a core component of anyone’s healthy lifestyle. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, weight, and anxiety. And if you’ve read any (good) infertility blogs, you’ve surely come across a post or two recommending exercise and the maintenance of a healthy weight to achieve IVF success. As an active person, you might be wondering whether or not you can continue to exercise during your IVF cycles, and if so what exercise can you do?
The following are some recommendations regarding how much exercise you should do during your IVF cycles, how intense the exercise should be, and what kinds of exercises are best.
How Much Can I Exercise During My IVF Cycles?
Whether you’re intense about your exercise or more relaxed, you should generally take it easy during your IVF cycles. We would recommend sticking to four hours or less of exercise a week. While this might be challenging for those who love intense workouts, there is a correlation between increased physical activity and decreased rates of conception. Increased levels of exercise tend to tax the reproductive system and can potentially alter your normal hormone levels. This reduces the ability of the embryo to implant and could result in pregnancy loss.
If you participate in intense exercises such as biking, running, and weightlifting, your fertility doctor will likely advise you to take up less intense, more low impact exercises.
What Exercises Can I Do During My IVF Cycles?
- Walking – Walking for 30 minutes every day already has a plethora of benefits. Walking is a low impact activity that raises your heart rate and increases blood flow throughout the body and brain. This type of exercise will increase the number of endorphins and nutrients released into your body and will increase the amount of oxygen your body receives. However, you won’t stress or overwork your body with this activity.
- Swimming – The benefits of swimming during your IVF cycles are plenty. Similar to walking swimming increases your heart rate to a desirable level without forcing a high level of stress on your body. If you’re worried that you’ll lose endurance, muscle strength, or cardiovascular fitness with lower impact exercises during your IVF cycle, swimming will help maintain your existing fitness level.
- Yoga – Yoga is not just a great exercise for your body, but it also helps reduce anxiety and stress on your mind. The incorporation of meditation and breathing creates calmness and mental clarity. Another low-impact exercise, Yoga will improve your flexibility, muscle strength and tone, and will allow you to maintain a healthy weight.
Risks Associated with Exercise and IVF Cycles
If you decide to maintain a high level of exercise during your IVF cycles or maintain an already high level of exercise, there are added risks. While rare, one risk, in particular, is ovarian torsion, which occurs when the ovaries twist. An additional risk of high-impact exercise is elevating your core body temperature, which can put you at risk for a miscarriage.
It’s a Marathon
Remember that your IVF journey is a marathon, not a sprint. The lower levels of stress you put your body through during this time will improve your chances of conception. While it might be difficult in the short term to change your exercise routine, the precautions you take now will likely pay off in the long run.