Nothing can replace exercise and its mood re-setting, muscle moving, heart pumping, circulation improving goodness. While lack of exercise is detrimental to achieving a healthy functioning body, exercise that is too intense can also have a similar effect. It is all about achieving a balance to allow your body to produce the best possible response.
During the trying to conceive (TTC) process it is important to undertake moderately intense exercise 4-6 times a week for around 45 minutes each time. When you exercise moderately you can talk the words of a song but would not be able to sing them. Your heart rate increases and you break a mild sweat. Exercise that would be considered vigorous, and therefore too strenuous, would raise your heart rate significantly and you would be unable to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
While TTC, one of the most important considerations is hormonal balance. And one of the main hormones involved in providing this balance is cortisol. Cortisol is produced when the body or mind is put under stress. When cortisol is high it puts out your delicate hormone balance. For this reason it is very important that the exercise you undertake is not overly taxing on your body. Types of exercise that are beneficial during the TTC process include:
- Brisk walking: include some hills to ensure you are pushing your cardiovascular system. You could also include some interval jogging, long jogs tend to increase your cortisol output, so intervals are best.
- Yoga: is amazing for de-stressing and reducing your cortisol levels. By combining breathing and stretching, yoga naturally raises endorphins and promotes a relaxation response. It can be undertaken in your lounge room using a DVD or a video from Youtube or you can attend classes at a studio. When TTC calmer, less intense versions of yoga are the most beneficial including yin, hatha, iyengar, restorative or vinyasa. Yoga is also great for improving blood flow generally which will in turn promote blood flow to the pelvis and reproductive organs. To reduce the risk of ‘back flow’ only undertake inversions on days you are not menstruating.
- Pilates: mat or reformer, pilates is excellent for improved posture, muscle tone and core strength. By improving your core strength you are also improving that all important blood flow to your pelvic region.
- Swimming: to ensure good pelvic circulation swim in warm, not cold, water and do not swim on days you are menstruating.
- Rebounding: You can add this to your exercise routine to improve the results you achieve. Yes, that 1980’s piece of exercise equipment has many benefits!
Increases bone mass
Improves circulation which in turn improves circulation to the pelvis
There may be some weeks where life just gets too hectic for exercise. Ideally these weeks are few and far between as exercising should be a significant priority. However, including as much incidental exercise as possible in your life will help to counter balance this; take the stairs everywhere you go, park the car further away, get off a stop earlier on the bus, go for a walk at lunch instead of sitting in the office and just generally get moving!