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Can Excessive Exercise Cause Infertility?

  By posted Mar 14th 2013
Healthy Living


 Does Excessive Exercise Cause Infertility?


Exercise is one of the most integral and fundamental aspects of the life. It keeps your mind and body healthy, and improves the overall condition. Scientists and research associates have done immense study to understand the effect of exercise on the overall health and have found clear-cut correlation. Fertility and sexual health does not depend directly on the level of exercise. However, too much of a good thing can also be bad.

Livestrong puts it as Amenorrhea, it is a condition “when a women of normal reproductive age does not experience a menstrual cycle for three months or more. Long-term excessive exercise combined with not enough food is a common cause of amenorrhea. If you cannot reduce your training volume, you need to increase your caloric intake if you wish to conceive.”

Care2.com substantiates this with a Danish study done in March 2012, looked at 3,600 women who were trying to get pregnant. They were grouped according to their BMI, and their exercise habits were monitored. “The researchers found that in normal weight women, too much strenuous exercise could cause delays in conception. The study came out in the journal Fertility and Sterility, and it found that depending on your current BMI, exercise can impact your fertility in different ways. Moderate exercise, like walking or gardening, can actually boost your fertility, regardless of your BMI. In normal-weight women, however, more vigorous exercise may make it harder to conceive.”

It is also true that obesity can increase the risk of infertility; when your obese body is overheated which is bad for your sexual life. Women exercising for a long duration can also affect their estrogen levels.

Male Fertility

In case of males, exercise may reduce sperm counts. Long-term exhaustive exercises decreases sperm count and your potential for reproduction. On the other hand, heavy resistance training works antagonistically. Heavy resistance training actually increase the production of testosterone, which can exhibit a secondary effect on other hormones that contribute to fertility in men.

What to do?

Don’t despair my marathon-running friends! If you’re trying to get pregnant but can't, you don’t necessarily have to ditch those running shoes. What we recommend is when you exercise do it in moderation as that it is more important than vigorous workouts. Too much will take away the energy that you require for a successful pregnancy. Don’t over exert yourself and keep a check. Try to make your lifestyle disciplined and systematic by making a timetable of exercise, rest, diet plan and proper sleeping routine. 

As for your diet, opt for at least 20 percent fat if not closer to 35 percent may be optimal for those wishing to conceive. This will also help offset the caloric demands of exercise.

*Inputs: Dr.Rita Bakshi,  Chairperson, International Fertility Centre, (Senior IVF Specialist & Senior Gynecologist)

*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images


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