Source: The Mirror UK: http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/how-exercise-can-help-you-1445760
By Miriam Stoppard
I hardly dare go on, yet again, about the benefits of exercise. But this is a new one and a surprising benefit at that. If you want to conceive, start exercising.
Yes, after all the usual payoffs of exercise – lowering your cholesterol, blood pressure, risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, obesity and diabetes – comes the finding that it can boost your chance of falling pregnant. That applies to IVF, too. In fact, especially to IVF, if you’re a couple using it to conceive.
A study from the University of North Carolina, US, has shown that women who were most active before fertility treatment were three times more likely to conceive as women who were least active.
And it doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise. Even doing housework can raise a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
For the study, 108 women seeking IVF treatment were asked to answer a questionnaire about how much exercise they were taking, including keeping active, doing housework, shopping, doing the school run and taking care of their families.
Four different scenarios were examined: household and domestic, occupation and work, active habits like walking and sports.
Measured in these ways, women with the highest activity levels were three times more likely to fall pregnant than women with the lowest. What could account for this finding?
There are several possibilities. Exercise is a normaliser. For muscles to work efficiently during exercise, all the body systems have to work together optimally.
This means the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, the liver, the blood, the brain and hormones all have to be playing in tune.
It’s logical to expect reproductive organs to benefit from this harmony, a harmony felt by every cell in the body including the egg from which a baby will form.
Exercise lowers your blood pressure, lessens anxiety, treats depression and encourages sound sleep – all of which is helpful if you’re trying for a baby.
But probably most important of all, exercise helps to regulate insulin levels and stops them climbing too high.
Too much insulin is thought to be harmful to the developing egg. Exercise is one of the best ways to keep levels low and stable.
While this study looked specifically at women using IVF, it’s probable that the results could apply to women trying for a baby naturally.
So what should you do? It would seem best to become more active several months ahead of conception if you can.
No need to go crazy. Just the usual. Walk, rather than drive. Climb stairs. Stay on your feet. Keep up your usual levels of exercise, including doing sports.