In general, lower intensity exercise is probably more beneficial when trying to get pregnant. Activities like walking, swimming, and yoga are usually better choices for boosting fertility than running, powerlifting, or high-intensity interval training. This doesn’t mean that women who like these high-intensity activities need to give up these exercises for good. Instead, when trying to conceive, women may want to consider opting for lower-impact workouts.
More is not better
When trying to get pregnant, more exercise is not necessarily better. Too much strenuous exercise has been linked to lower rates of IVF success. Overexercising can also lead to anovulation, in which a woman does not ovulate. Women who do not ovulate cannot get pregnant. Being underweight or exercising too much has been linked to anovulation.
Weight and fertility
Being overweight also contributes to infertility. However, research has shown that being underweight can be even more detrimental to trying to conceive than being overweight. Ideally, women will be within a healthy BMI range before getting pregnant. But women who are overweight can still experience success with just a 5-10% reduction in body weight. And keep in mind that eating a healthy, balanced diet can be just as beneficial for weight loss as exercise.
What else can I do?
Women who are trying to get pregnant can also boost fertility by reducing stress, improving sleep habits, and eating a healthy diet. Studies have shown a direct link to prolonged stress and trouble conceiving. For example, one study found that women with higher levels of stress took 29% longer to get pregnant. While this can refer to emotional stress, a critical component that women often forget is physical stress. Too much exercise puts stress on the body, which can, in turn, affect fertility.
Speak with a healthcare provider
Women who want to get pregnant should consult with a healthcare provider regarding specific recommendations. An OB/GYN can advise women on a one-on-one basis regarding how much exercise is best for improving the chances of conception.