Can Jogging Affect Your Fertility?

Pounding the pavement can boost your fertility, as long as you don't overdo it.

Pounding the pavement can boost your fertility, as long as you don't overdo it.

Regular, moderate exercise is good for you and can even boost your fertility. Jogging helps to manage your weight and stress level -- two factors that impact how easily you can get pregnant. Jogging can also help you have regular periods. If you are a jogger looking to start a family, moderation is the key. Women who jog too much may find it takes longer to get pregnant.

Jogging Intensity

Vigorous exercise such as jogging may help or hurt your chances of getting pregnant depending on how much you weigh. For normal-weight women who jog, high-intensity or long-distance runs may make it more difficult to get pregnant, especially for women who jog more than five hours per week, according to the findings of one study published in March 2012 in the journal "Fertility and Sterility." This same study found that overweight women with a BMI over 25 didn’t see a negative effect on fertility from training hard. In fact, taking in a good, sweaty jog regularly may improve fertility in heavier women. For ladies with a BMI under 25, easy jogs were more likely to lead to faster pregnancy.

Hormonal Issues

While jogging long distances every day may get you svelte, being too lean can disrupt your menstrual cycle and make it harder to get pregnant. Jogging and other types of training can cause irregularities in levels of female hormones such as lutenizing hormone. Low levels of lutenizing hormone can lead to amenorrhea -- when you stop having a period. Jogging alone won’t necessarily keep you from ovulating. However, joggers with low body weight who burn more calories than they take in may experience a decrease in lutenizing hormone, which affects your ability to ovulate regularly.

If You're Overweight

Some overweight and obese women may have lower fertility rates than normal-weight women due to changes in their monthly cycle. Menstrual irregularity in obese women may be due to an increase in hormones produced by biologically active body fat, Dr. Demitrios Mastrogianis of Temple University Medical School states. Stressing about trying to conceive doesn’t help matters, either. Stress increases cortisol and blood sugar levels, which can lead to weight gain. Physical activity, such as jogging, that helps overweight women lose weight might help to improve their fertility, claims Dr. Lauren Wise of the Boston University School of Public Health. Jogging helps with both weight management and stress management by increasing energy and improving mood and sleep quality. Jogging can also improve blood flow to the reproductive organs and improve egg quality -- added bonuses for women who want to get pregnant.

PCOS

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may experience a double whammy -- problems with ovulation and unintended weight gain. To make matters worse, obese women with PCOS are potentially at greater risk of miscarriage. Jogging can help women with PCOS lose weight. Losing just 5 to 10 percent of body weight may get women back on track to ovulating regularly, according to LA IVF, a fertility clinic with four offices in Southern California.

 

About the Author

Alissa Pond Mentzer worked in biotech research and educational publishing before becoming a freelance writer in 2005. She has contributed to textbooks for The Mcgraw-Hill Companies and National Geographic School Division and writes science articles for various websites. Mentzer earned a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University in anthropology and biological sciences.

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