When I was TTC our first baby, I was paranoid. Every month, from ovulation on, I really took it easy on my body and I tried to not do any kind of lifting, heavy working, or strenuous exercise.
Well, then I got pregnant with my son (praise God!!) and I realized that my body isn’t quite as fragile as I was afraid it was.
Then I started studying to be a pre and post natal fitness specialist and I really realized that our bodies are not fragile! We are intricately created beings with the capacity to move, bend, lift, and ideally to achieve and sustain pregnancy.
If you are TTC, I highly highly recommend some form of exercise.
- It is good for general health. Heart health, muscle health, weight health, etc. A lifestyle that moves is much healthier than a sedentary lifestyle.
- It is good for TTC. A lot of physical problems that affect fertility can be relieved or sometimes cured from exercising. Plus, the more toned and in shape you are now, the better your body will handle pregnancy and labor…and the faster you will be able to get your body back after pregnancy!
- It could reduce infertility problems. One study showed that exercising 3-5 times a week can reduce a woman’s chance of ovulatory infertility by 25% or more. Exercise also helps keep your androgen at healthy levels, which is necessary for proper fertility health.
- It is good for stress relief. TTC can be an incredibly stressful process. And stress can negatively impact fertility. It can be a vicious cycle. There are many studies that have shown the correlation between exercise and stress relief.
Try to work out three or more times a week for at least twenty minutes. Push yourself so that you reach the point where you feel you are at a moderately hard level. A general rule of thumb is to work out so that you can talk, but not sing. It is important, whether you are TTC or not, to not over-train your body. That can just lead to other health problems! A good workout should leave you feeling good, not drained.
Watch your posture. Make sure your body is in alignment, even when working out.
Watch your core. The best explanation I have heard for this came from Lindsay Brin. Pretend someone threw you a football and you caught it with your stomach. Think of that “Hut” sound as you pull in your belly.
If you are just starting to work out, now (TTC) is not a good time to jump into some crazy intense workout. It’s hard because you want to feel like you’re really DOING something that will help you get pregnant, but if you over train you could cause more problems. Start gently.
Walking is a great way to start out. Yes, you may not feel like you are working out, but it is a fantastic way to get your body moving, build up some endurance, and to lower your stress!
Once you have more endurance, running is a great way to exercise.
Take a class at the gym or do some at-home DVD workouts. Personally, cardio kickboxing is my favorite!
Make sure that your workout routines incorporate aerobics, strengthening, and stretching.
One thing that I didn’t know until recently was that exercise can and should change depending on where you are in your cycle. Making Babies by Sami S. David, MD and Jill Blakeway, LAc recommends the following:
“Phase 1 (Menstruation)
- Avoid strenuous aerobic exercise during your period.
- Try workouts with a meditative bent, such as yoga, tai chi, or qi gong.
Phase 2 (Pre-ovulation)
- Spend twenty to thirty minutes a day on aerobic exercise.
Phase 3 (Ovulation)
- Exercise gently; try swimming, walking, yoga, or qi gong. Avoid exercise that involves high impact, such as running or step aerobics. Exercise gets the blood moving, which encourages good blood flow to the uterus, so it’s particularly beneficial around ovulation.
Phase 4 (Potential Implantation)
- Get moderate exercise to keep the qi and blood moving after ovulation, when an embryo may be trying to implant, but avoid intensely aerobic exercise or high-impact exercise, such as jogging or trampolining (unless you are sure you are not pregnant). Walking, cycling, swimming, yoga, and qi gong are all good choices.”
I have a working theory that everyone will love some kind of exercise. If you hate working out, maybe try something different and you might just discover something you enjoy! I hated working out (even though I knew it was good for me) until I discovered cardio kickboxing. Now I actually enjoy it!
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