Natural Fertility 101: Exercise

Exercise Can Prevent Conception

It’s what many of us want to hear right, that if we actually do get off our duffs, that it could hurt our fertility! Well….not exactly.

When our bodies are overworked, over stressed, or constantly moving, they go into a type of physical fight or flight mode. This in turn can impact our natural fertility, as our bodies get the message that it may not be able to support and nourish another little being.

Over exercise can affect both men and women alike.

When we stress our bodies and constantly push them ‘to the brink’, our stress hormones (like adrenaline) are activated, sending a cascade of effects that can then inhibit production of the reproductive organs. This decrease in fertility is often found in marathon runners, body builder types, and those who constantly push their bodies to failure without break.

In men, extreme workouts seem to cause the internal body temperature to rise too high, thus killing off sperm and leading to low sperm counts. This can be especially harmful during workouts where the man sits; rowing, biking, etc.

In women, it can also cause an unnatural loss of body fat. This super lean body type, which to modern folks may look “perfect,” disrupts the production of estrogen— up to 30% of the body’s estrogen is produced in fat cells. Women with little to no body fat often fail to ovulate.

Lack of Exercise Prevents Conception

On the other side of the spectrum, a daily routine void of all exercise can put a damper on your fertility. Lack of movement and activity is very closely tied to excess weight, which causes too much estrogen in the body. Again, remember that 30% of a woman’s estrogen is produced in fat cells. Excess weight can also cause insulin resistance; and when you produce too much insulin, it effects your entire endocrine (hormone) system as well. If you are overweight or otherwise not inclined to workout, adding activity into your life would greatly benefit you!


Somewhere between working out like you’re being chased by a pack of rabid wolves and sitting on the couch (or behind a desk!) all day, there has to be some middle ground. A place where you can find time to exercise, feel refreshed at the end of the workout (not completely exhausted), support your reproductive organs, and enhance your natural fertility.

Where do you find your middle ground?

Are you actively moving your body for better health?

Donielle Baker

Donielle Baker

owner and editor of Natural Fertility and Wellness at Natural Fertility and Wellness
Donielle believes women can learn how to heal their bodies & balance their hormones through natural methods. An advocate for natural health, she has a passion for nourishing/real food nutrition and natural living. Her personal background includes both infertility and miscarriage and she started Natural Fertility and Wellness in 2008 in order to share all of the information she found helpful in her journey to heal from PCOS and overcome infertility.
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
Donielle Baker
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  1. says

    This is such an important post, Donielle – thanks!

    I used to be quite the exercise fanatic. I shudder now to think of how much I pushed my body over the brink. It is all part of what led me to adrenal burnout. I also have friends who have seen the danger that overexercise can be to our bodies.

    What I am doing now is a very modified slow exercise bike routine. I exercise at a moderate high level keeping my heart rate below 26 beats per minute for one minute, then ride at a slow pace for one minute. I alternate this routine for 15 minutes, then take a break and do another 15. If I feel tired then I slow it down even more. I also read while riding so I get my soul energized too. 15 minutes in the Bible and 15 minutes other health or personal interest.

  2. says

    I’m definitely on the sedentary side of the balance and I’m working on adding more active time to my day, but one thing that has confused me is where that balance would be achieved. There’s so many conflicting ideas as to what and ideal weight is for any given person. Are there any good, natural resources that give a better idea than the seemingly random numbers conventional medicine offers?

    • donielle says

      @Rachel, Unfortunately, not from what I’ve seen. :-/ And I think a lot of that is because each person is so different. With my bone structure I should lose 15 pounds, on someone else, it’s perfect! So i think it really depends on someone’s overall health, for instance, someone could be really thin but get winded going up 2 flights of stairs. Another person could be slightly overweight and yet workout, so they’d be fine after the stairs.

      • says

        @donielle, That’s a bit of a bummer. I have a lot weight to lose according to the charts but I have a cousin who has a very similar bone structure and height as mine and if she loses too much so looks sick and that’s where the charts say I should be. Thank you none the less. Hopefully I can find a happy medium!