SWAP THE ROLLER COASTER FOR ROLLER SKATES – Using exercise to enhance fertility
Whether you are trying to naturally or through fertility treatments, chances are you’re on a monthly roller coaster of emotions – full of hope and excitement one minute, disappointment and dejection the next.
Patients going through IVF for instance describe the two week wait between embryo transfer and blood test as mind-blowingly stressful. Countless others tell me about the lack of control they feel, and the sense of failure when things don’t work out as expected.
In fact, one study found the emotional impact of IVF to be even more problematic than the physical impact. That stress alone is reason enough for many to give up on treatment.
So how can you manage the seemingly inevitable anxiety that comes with trying to conceive?
With so many factors out of your control, I like to emphasize to patients those things they do have power over, and one of the best things you can do for yourself is to exercise.
I know, I know! You’re already watching what you eat, taking supplements, trying to find time to relax, and now I want you to put on your running shoes. But at this time in particular, exercise can be a great help, and far beyond the obvious reasons.
I’ve mentioned the emotional roller coaster. You’ll be going through an overwhelming number of feelings- positive and negative. For those times when the ride gets bumpy, exercise can have an immediate uplifting effect. Research suggests it’s just as effective as medication in cases of mild depression.
You’ve probably already had to make some dietary changes that you’re not too thrilled about. Goodbye, daily latte and evening glass of wine. With caffeine and alcohol off the menu, use physical activity to boost your levels of serotonin- the feel-good neurotransmitter.
Oh, and it’s free!
With so much going on in your head, it can be hard to doze off at night. Not helpful when quality sleep is vital for good hormonal balance, and good hormonal balance is vital for – you guessed it – conceiving. But as you may also have guessed, regular exercise will improve the quality of your sleep.
Have Fun With It
You don’t have to dust off your legwarmers, sign up to an expensive gym and sweat till you can’t stand to feel the benefits of moving more. Why not put on some music and dance, join a dance or yoga class, go for a walk, do a bit of gardening, get on your bike, or play a game that gets your heart rate up?
There may be difficulties and delays on the path to parenthood, or perhaps this is your lucky month; either way, increasing your exercise will leave you physically and mentally stronger to cope with whatever life brings.
So why not give it a go? Challenge yourself to be more active – even for one week – and see how it makes you feel.
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