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Listen to Your Body: Tailoring Exercise for Optimal Fertility


Woman walking in relaxing forest

For years, I pursued exercise with an eye on looking "healthy" and fit, chasing societal ideals over my body's true needs. It wasn't only my workout routine causing me imbalance, but also my general outlook on life at that time. My inner voice and true desires had been overshadowed by cultural definitions of success, leading me to adopt habits that didn't align with what I genuinely needed. This mismatch became glaringly obvious when my body started showing signs—through imbalances in my menstrual cycle and surges in stress and anxiety—that my current lifestyle wasn't sustainable. Coupled with my desire to become a mother, these signs became a wake-up call, propelling me towards a journey of self-discovery and a reevaluation of how I approached movement. This wasn't just about staying active; it was about redefining movement to nurture my fertility, respect my body's cues, and enhance my overall well-being. It was a call to reconnect, to move with intention and understanding, and to find harmony in the way I nurtured my body towards the dream of parenthood.


Redefining Exercise: A Journey of Self-Love and Pleasure


In our quest for health, especially during preconception, it's crucial to place our focus on how we feel. Exercise, I learned, isn't about achieving a certain look but about fostering well-being and balance. It's about developing a healthy relationship with movement, one that honours our bodies and supports our fertility without tipping into extremes.


The Modern Challenge: Sedentary Lifestyles vs Ancestral Activity

Our ancestors' days were filled with diverse physical activities and chores throughout their days, a stark contrast to the sedentary lifestyle many of us lead, glued to our screens and desks. This disconnection from constant movement has implications not just for our general health but for our reproductive well-being too.


The Science of Movement and Fertility

Recent studies underscore the importance of physical activity for those planning to conceive:

  • Active women in preconception may enjoy better protection from pregnancy-related complications.

  • Regular exercise before conception can lower the risk of diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

  • Men's exercise habits can alter sperm epigenetics, potentially enhancing baby's health.

Moreover, movement supports fertility in many ways. For women struggling with conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and PCOS, exercise can help normalise blood glucose and insulin levels, which can in turn improve fertility by promoting ovulation. Storka's movement expert, Physiotherapist Anne Marie Jensen, who runs a successful clinic working with fertility patients in Copenhagen, reminds us that fertility isn't about muscle strength but muscle balance, supporting reproductive health through adequate blood flow, hormone balance, and stress reduction.


Tailoring Exercise to Your Optimal Fertility Journey


Woman doing yoga

Incorporating movement in ways that brought me joy and was aligned with my cycle was transformative on my preconception path. It's not merely about the physical benefits but about nurturing a state where my body feels ready and supported for pregnancy. Tools like the app Read Your Body were invaluable for tracking my cycle and helping me detect what type of movement I felt like depending on where I was in my cycle and how exercise impacts my fertility. Now, 16 months postpartum and having regained my cycle, I am excited to get back into this level of alignment with my body.


FAQs on Exercise and Fertility

  • Can too much exercise affect my fertility? Yes, while exercise is beneficial, exceeding five hours of intense activity weekly without adequate nutrition can signal your body that conditions aren't ideal for conception.

  • What exercises are best for boosting fertility? Moderate-intensity activities like walking, yoga, and light strength training can support fertility by improving overall health without overtaxing your system.

Join Our Journey: A Call to Action

If you're curious about deepening your understanding of reproductive hormones and unlocking menstrual cycle insights, our free Fertility Awareness Mini Course is a perfect starting point. Simply provide your email below to join a community dedicated to nurturing health and fertility through knowledge and support.


As we navigate this journey together, let's embrace movement not just as exercise but as a celebration of what our bodies can do, preparing us for the incredible journey of parenthood ahead.


Love,

Ingrid

Pregnant woman cooking

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