When it comes to exercise and fertility, I always think of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Falling into either extreme, too much or too little, will keep us from creating healthy, happy, and fertile bodies. We need to find the amount that is just right. It's all about finding that sweet spot.
Nonstop, high intensity exercise puts loads of stress on the body. If we couple too much exercise with too little food, we are begging for trouble.
A stressed, overworked, and depleted body is not a healthy body, let alone a fertile body.
Studies looking at how physical activity affects fertility and fecundity suggest vigorous activity negatively impacts a woman's ability to get and stay pregnant. It seems the longer the sessions are and the more frequently the sessions occur, the more profound the negative effect. Moderate activity seems to be beneficial, though (check out the details here, here, here, and here).
Being active is soooo important to our health and fertility, but too much is too much.
So, just how much is too much? And how do we define vigorous anyway? The simplest way to figure out if you are exercising vigorously is to do the talk test. Can you talk while doing the activity? If you can, it's probably moderate. Can't say more than a few words without a great deal of effort or needing to pause to catch your breath? Then you're probably working at a vigorous level.
The amount of exercise that is too much is a bit different for every body, but if our bodies are telling us we have crossed the line, we would be wise to listen.
Here are 5 signs you might be overdoing it:
- You're constantly exhausted even when you get enough sleep.
- You are experiencing back to back injuries or maybe injuries that never seem to heal completely.
- The sniffles are your constant companion. Are you getting sick more often than usual?
- Something's different... Cha-cha-changes to your menstrual cycle.
- Your muscles are sore. No, like really sore. Like, all the time.
Experiencing any of these? You might want to take a breather and talk to your medical provider about how you've been feeling. Want to avoid overdoing it from the start? Schedule rest into your workout schedule while also incorporating more restorative exercise like tai-chi, yoga, and gyrokenesis into your plan.
And of course, if you are new to exercise or coming back after a bit of a hiatus, ease into it by starting off with moderate cardio two to three times a week and increasing gradually.
Want to learn more about moderate vs vigorous activity? The CDC has a list of activities and their intensity you might be interested in.
P.S. I'm moving folks! New site and address coming soon. Stay tuned for the details.