Does exercise help fertility? Can exercise affect implantation? These are common questions on many people’s minds when trying to conceive, and for a good reason. When it comes to conception, every step matters. You want to ensure your body is in the best possible condition to welcome new life. 

Everyone has different health needs, and balancing the right amount of physical activity with your body’s unique needs is key. You’ll also need to work with your doctor to build an exercise routine that works for you during this phase of your life. 

Ready to start your pregnancy journey off the right way? Here’s what you need to know about exercise during implantation and how physical activity can impact your pregnancy odds. 

Does Exercise Increase Fertility? 

Exercise is considered to be generally beneficial for the average person who isn’t trying to get pregnant. Maintaining a consistent workout routine can help you strengthen bones and muscles1 and maintain neurological and cardiovascular health.2

Exercise can also help balance your hormones. Physical activity causes a natural release of dopamine and serotonin,3 which can help you manage stress and stay mentally healthy. Additionally, exercise can help balance estrogen levels in women and testosterone levels in men.

But how do these factors affect your body when trying to conceive? There are various factors to bear in mind, including your weight, the intensity of the exercise, and any underlying conditions you may have. In general, moderate exercise is still considered beneficial for those trying to conceive.5 The release of hormones6 that happens during exercise can support ovulation, which can help lead to pregnancy. 

So, does exercise improve egg quality? Right now, there isn’t scientific evidence to support that exercise improves the quality of eggs or sperm. However, the increased blood flow and hormonal balance that come with exercise can support a healthy reproductive system overall. 

How Can Exercise Affect Implantation?

The impact of exercise on fertility and conception will depend largely on the intensity of the workouts you’re doing and your current weight. While moderate exercise is generally beneficial for anyone trying to conceive, vigorous exercise can negatively affect your fertility journey. 

Moderate Exercise

Technically, moderate exercise is defined as any activity with 3 to 6 METs, or metabolic equivalents.7 This means you’d burn 3 to 6 times more energy than you would while resting. With moderate exercise, you’ll notice your heart rate increase and your breath speed up, although you’ll still be able to maintain a light conversation. 

Regular moderate exercise is generally considered advantageous for those trying to conceive, especially when paired with a balanced diet and other healthy behaviors. Research indicates that this exercise level doesn’t interfere with the implantation process in most cases. In one study, women who adhered to at least five healthy lifestyle indicators, which included diet and exercise, had a 69% lower risk of ovulatory disorder infertility8 than their peers who did not adhere to these healthy behaviors. 

Part of this is because exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Research has found that women with a normal BMI of 19 to 24 took an average of 6.8 months to conceive.9 However, women with higher BMIs took longer to conceive. Those with a BMI of 25-39 took an average of 10.6 months, while those with a BMI over 39 took an average of 13.3 months. 

However, it’s important to note that women with very low BMIs under 19 took an average of 29 months to conceive. This implies that those who are underweight are just as likely to struggle with infertility. Those with a low BMI may want to consider gentle exercise while trying to conceive to avoid unintentional weight loss. However, talk to your doctor about your exercise options to determine what makes sense for you.

Vigorous Exercise

Vigorous exercise is defined as activity that produces over 6 METs.7 It is significantly more intense than moderate exercise. You’ll experience deep breathing and may feel out of breath quickly. You’ll start to sweat rapidly, and your heart rate may increase substantially. Examples of vigorous exercise include high-intensity running, biking, or swimming, as well as sports like basketball, tennis, or martial arts. 

In terms of fertility, vigorous exercise that leads to weight loss can be beneficial for overweight and obese people trying to conceive. This is true for both men and women.10 This is likely because vigorous exercise can help you lose weight and reach a healthy BMI more quickly, and normal BMIs are associated with better fertility rates. 

This is particularly true for overweight women who struggle with polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS. PCOS is a hormonal disorder that leads to enlarged ovaries, and it generally impacts fertility adversely. However, 30 minutes of exercise three times per week can increase the chances of conception in overweight women who have PCOS.11

However, for those with a normal or underweight BMI, vigorous exercise could be detrimental to fertility in some cases. Many people wonder about running while trying to conceive and how this could affect the chances of a successful pregnancy. One study of women who ran regularly found that 58% of respondents had menstrual cycle abnormalities.12 Another study found that women who engaged in at least two hours of vigorous physical activity every week13 were less likely to conceive than women who were sedentary.However, the same study confirmed that moderate exercise was not detrimental to fertility but beneficial for all weight groups. 

There is some evidence that this could be due to a large energy deficit, subsequent menstrual abnormalities, and weight loss associated with vigorous exercise.14 If you do participate in vigorous exercise while trying to conceive, increasing your caloric intake could help prevent an energy deficit and offset a potential fertility deficit. 

So, does exercise affect implantation? It’s important to note that frequent vigorous exercise can shorten the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle.5 The luteal phase is often referred to as the “two-week wait” between ovulation and the beginning of menstruation. When the luteal phase is shorter, the uterus lining has less time to build up. When the uterus lining is thinner, it is less likely to support a successful egg implantation,15 although it is still possible. 

Because of this, you may want to stick to a gentler exercise routine while trying to conceive. However, gentle exercise and a healthy menstrual cycle look different for everyone. If you’re an experienced athlete, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to scrap your whole workout. Instead, talk with your doctor to determine what makes sense for your body. 

How to Exercise During Ovulation and Implantation

As part of your fertility journey, it’s helpful to put together an exercise routine to stick to during ovulation and implantation. Finding a routine that works well for you may take some trial and error, so don’t be afraid to test different types of workouts. Here’s what to consider. 

Types of Exercise

The first step is choosing the right exercise type for your needs. This will depend on a variety of factors, including your experience level and your current weight. 

Moderate workouts will work best for most people during this time. Some examples of moderate exercise include a brisk walk or light jog, gentle bike riding, or yoga. You may also want to include some resistance training with a focus on strengthening your muscles.16 This can help prepare your body for pregnancy and labor later on. Additionally, doing household chores and gardening can serve as a moderate workout. This level of exercise will help keep you strong and balance your hormones without the risk of shortening the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle.

Try to avoid workouts that are very strenuous or come with the risk of injury. But what is considered excessive exercise when trying to conceive? This depends on the person, but you’ll want to steer clear of anything unsafe or could put you into a severe energy deficit. For example, you may want to avoid skating, rock climbing, or other extreme sports during this time. You’ll probably also want to avoid running a marathon or any other high-endurance cardio exercise. 

If you decide to try a new form of exercise, start with a relatively easy workout before diving into something more challenging. However, if you’re already a high-level athlete, you can likely continue the workouts you’re already doing. Still, you may need to lower the intensity or increase your caloric intake to prevent disrupting your menstrual cycle. 

If you’re currently overweight or obese, a higher-intensity workout could benefit you, as it could help with weight loss. This could include running, hiking, dancing, or playing a sport that involves cardio. However, it’s still important to be mindful of injury and not overwork yourself. 

If you’re new to exercising and unsure where to start, talk to your healthcare provider about safe and easy options. A gentle walk around your neighborhood is a great place to start since it’s free and doesn’t require any experience. 

Duration of Exercise

The amount of time you spend exercising is also something to consider when trying to conceive. Studies have found that vigorously exercising for more than 60 minutes a day can reduce your chances of healthy ovulation. However, exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day can increase your chances of ovulating healthily6. 

If you’re sticking to gentle or moderate exercise, you may benefit from working out for longer than 60 minutes. Long workouts may even be helpful if you’re trying to lose weight. However, you’ll still need to be mindful of potential injuries and avoid overtaxing yourself. If you’re not used to exercising regularly, you’ll also want to stick to short workouts at first to build stamina. 

Tips for Working Out While Trying to Conceive

Follow these tips to get more out of your workouts while trying to conceive. 

  • Balance strength and cardio. Switching up your workouts regularly will help you improve your whole-body fitness, which can prepare you for pregnancy. Choose workouts that include a mix of cardio and strength exercises. You can also try exercises to improve your coordination, flexibility, and balance. 
  • Find an exercise you love. When you enjoy your workouts, you’re more likely to stick to a regular routine. Take the time to test out a few options and find an exercise routine you love. If you’re unhappy just working out in a gym, try an outdoor workout or a group class instead to switch things up. 
  • Take frequent work breaks. If you work a sedentary job, getting enough exercise in your day can be challenging. One way to be more active is to take a short break each hour to move around. Take a walk through your office, do some stretches, or even try a strengthening exercise. 
  • Work out with a partner. If you’re struggling to get started, working out with someone else can make things easier. Find a friend or family member who enjoys a similar type of exercise. 
  • Invest in quality equipment. Reliable equipment, such as sneakers, weights, or yoga mats, can make your workout safer and more comfortable. 

Boost Your Fertility with FertilitySmart

The path to conception is not just about movement but the right kind of movement. To quickly recap, moderate exercise can be helpful for those looking to conceive. However, regular vigorous exercise could affect your menstrual cycle and cause other health issues. Consult your healthcare provider to find an exercise routine that suits your needs. 

Looking for other ways to kickstart your fertility journey? FertilitySmart natural female fertility supplements can set the right foundation, encouraging hormonal balance and a healthy reproductive system. We also offer male fertility supplements to increase sperm count and optimize reproductive health. Take the next step toward growing your family with FertilitySmart! 


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