I am super excited about today’s post by Erika Volk. She has lots to say about exercising while trying to conceive, and she really knows her stuff. If you are anything like me, the last thing you want to do while going through fertility treatments is exercise. You feel exhausted in every way possible, and exercising is just not top priority. Top that off with the fact that the winter weather is finally here, practically begging us to stay indoors and veg, and suddenly exercise is off the radar completely. But according to Erika, and lots of other medical and healthcare professionals, it really should not be.
Erika is a certified personal trainer, Nutrition Coach, and fitness writer. She holds certifications from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), TRX Suspension Training Systems, Precision Nutrition and has received additional Anatomy and Physiology instruction from UCLA.
Erika was diagnosed with PCOS in 2005. She believes that lifestyle modifications are the best treatment for PCOS. If you want to learn more about how exercise can alleviate PCOS symptoms, please visit her website at erikavolkfitness.com.
Erika lives with her husband in a small beach town somewhere in Costa Rica. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, learning Spanish and traveling. At erikavolkfitness.com you’ll find at-home workout plans, healthy cooking tips, and stories about her life in Costa Rica.
If you’re trying to conceive, most of your attention, time and energy are focused on preparing for the amazing day when you meet that sweet baby for the first time. I would imagine that your heart and mind are overwhelmed with emotions and stress everyday. Oh, and let’s not forget, the infamous side effects that come with fertility treatments!
In the face of all this stress and excitement, you probably aren’t going to think much about washboard abs or getting ready for bikini season, but you should still be turning your attention toward fitness.
Exercising on the regular will help you look better naked, but the real payoff for women who are TTC is that the physiological changes that regular exercise creates can improve the likelihood that you will conceive. Not to mention that being fit will prepare you for the rigors of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.
I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2005. At the moment, I am not trying to get pregnant, but my husband and I would like to be parents someday. When I don’t feel like working out, I think about how my fitness level could help me become a mother and, suddenly, I am motivated again!
Maybe a doctor has suggested that you exercise and eat right in order to improve your fertility, but I’ve found that fitness is an often overlooked piece of the fertility puzzle.
Five Ways Working Out Prepares You for Motherhood
Maintaining a healthy weight will reduce your risk of infertility. According to a study published in the journal Human Reproduction, a woman with a BMI of 40 or more is 43% less likely to get pregnant. Regular exercise, particularly strength training, is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Being physically active can increase your resting metabolism; the amount of calories your burn at rest. A revved-up metabolism will help prevent fertility-jeopardizing weight gain.
Strength training can reduce your insulin resistance. Many women with PCOS suffer from insulin resistance, which is the inability to properly react to our own insulin. When our bodies don’t respond to insulin, we begin to produce excess insulin. These insulin spikes can create a hormonal imbalance that will boost androgen production by the ovaries. This vicious cycle is at the heart of the polycystic ovarian syndrome. Strength training can help break this cycle! Several medical research studies have reported that resistance training enhances insulin sensitivity.
Exercise can help you manage the stress of facing infertility. The ups and downs of TTC can take an emotional toll. Exercise can help soothe your anxieties by giving you a boost of the mood elevating endorphin, Serotonin.
Women who workout have shorter labors. Studies have found that women who exercise during pregnancy tend to have shorter labors and their babies respond better to the stresses of birth. Shorter labor? Now that is motivating!
Exercising moms have healthier babies. Time and again, studies have shown that babies born to fit mothers have higher Apgar scores. In fact, a recent research study found that children born to mothers who exercise may become healthier adults!
Exercise is a fantastic and empowering way to take charge of your health and fertility! To all of those struggling with PCOS and other fertility issues, my heart goes out to you! I am rooting for each and every one of you! Please don’t get discouraged, instead get active!
Thank you so much, Erika, for sharing your expertise and ideas with us. I certainly need all the help I can get when it comes to exercise… even more so now that I have a baby who has given me a few extra pounds, and stolen my time and energy! (:
So, if you enjoyed what Erika had to say, and if you’re like me, wanting and needing to exercise more regularly, but feeling a little overwhelmed at where to start, I have some pretty neat news for you:
Erika has an eBook!
Appropriately, the book is called “The Just Start Workout: 30 Day Beginners’ Exercise Program for Women with PCOS.”
This is so up my alley. The book is filled with 30 days of 15-minute workout plans, along with detailed illustrations of how to perform each exercise. The exercises can be done at home without a single piece of equipment. A goal of fifteen minutes a day is so realistic and doable, which makes sticking with it for 30 days seem really attainable.
And… the ebook price is super reasonable.
And… Erika has graciously gifted us with a special discount code, which makes the book a whopping $5.
The discount code is: great5