Exercise is good for your reproductive health. Regular, moderate exercise can help ensure optimal production of estrogen and progesterone, increasing the odds of healthy ovulation. A daily exercise routine can also guard against the negative effects that obesity and stress can have on your fertility. The key to getting the most out of exercising while ovulating is to be careful to avoid overdoing it -- too much exercise can actually impede ovulation.
Benefits of Exercising While Ovulating
Exercise is a great stress buster, and this can be valuable for your reproductive health. An increase in stress hormones such as cortisol can decrease or stop the gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), a hormone vital to healthy ovulation. These same stress hormones may also increase gonadotropin-inhibitory hormones, which work to prevent GnRH production. Exercising can keep stress levels down, thereby encouraging healthy ovulation. If you're obese, exercising to lose weight and to help repress excessive estrogen production can increase your odds of getting pregnant.
Exercise's Effect on Ovulation
Light to moderate exercise will not have a negative effect on ovulation. You can continue your normal workout routine throughout your entire menstrual cycle without it causing a change in your hormone production. Excessive exercise, however, can drastically reduce estrogen and progesterone levels, delaying ovulation or even suppressing it altogether. What is considered “too much” exercise will vary from woman to woman. In a study published in the March 2012 issue of "Fertility and Sterility," Dr. Jessica Scotchie, a reproductive endocrinologist, suggests that women who are of normal weight and who exercise strenuously for more than five hours a week can impede ovulation. This may reduce their chances of conceiving by as much as 42 percent. One sign that you might need to cut back is if you experience irregular or absent periods. Irregular cycles can also be caused by other serious conditions, so check with your doctor if things seem off.
Ovulation's Effect on Exercise
In most cases, ovulation will not have any effect on exercise. Some women experience ovulation pain that can be mild to severe, with a duration ranging from a couple of hours to two days. Mild to moderate pain can be dealt with by taking over-the-counter pain medications and usually doesn't interfere with your ability to exercise. Talk to your doctor about any severe pain you may have.
Healthy Exercises During Ovulation
While any moderate exercise is fine during ovulation, aerobic exercises such as walking, jogging, cycling and swimming stimulate endorphin production, which is good for stress relief and mental health. They increase the heart rate enough to be effective without overdoing it. Performing one of these activities at a moderate rate for 30 to 60 minutes a day is an excellent way to stay healthy.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images