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A well-nourished body is the basic pre-requisite for fertility. When couples come to fertility experts, one of the primary treatments include eating the right food along with the right form of exercises. Research has shown that women with a sedentary lifestyle find it harder to conceive.
The excess fat percentage in the body is associated with insulin resistance and this, in turn, throws the hormones haywire. All of this results in ovulatory dysfunction, increases the risk of miscarriage and pre-term birth. Moreover, lack of movement and activity is associated with excess weight and in turn hormonal imbalance.
"It is easy to preach about increasing physical activity and achieving fat loss. A well-meaning advice such as this which need not stress out someone who has a sedentary lifestyle. The aim is to increase overall activity with the help of gentle workout and adjustment to physical movement," said Dr Anagha Karkhanis, Director of Cocoon Fertility.
An ideal workout routine
Remember that physical exercise doesn't mean you shock your system by sudden strenuous workouts. Long walks, gentle hikes, leisurely swims, taking the stairs instead of the lift, bicycling etc are some of the simple fun ways of getting into an active life. Include the following workouts in your fitness routine
a. Moderate cardio like walking, jogging, aerobics - Exercise enough to sweat a bit and get your heart rate up but do not overdo it or exhaust your body. 30 minutes of this a day is all that is needed.
b. Strength Training- This is great for building up stamina and strength. This form of exercise is great to reduce insulin resistance. "3 to 4 days a week is usually enough. It is important to never overdo weight training as it may increase androgen levels and in fact may be counterproductive," added Dr Karkhanis.
c. Yoga and Pilates- These are both good for core muscle strengthening. Both help to de-stress and relax. There is a specific form of fertility yoga that is currently very popular.
d. Stretching and flexibility exercise train and mould your body to adapt for 9 months of pregnancy, labour as well as delivery.
What happens when you go overboard?
Extremely athletic women have lower levels of body fat overall, menstrual cycle disturbances and irregular ovulation and hence decrease fertility."However, extreme exercise is bad. Research has revealed that women who exercised daily and exhausted themselves had increased risk of infertility. This is due to increase in cortisol levels and reduced thyroid hormone activity," she added. But worry not, infertility due to high-intensity exercise is reversible by reducing activity and increasing body fat.
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