Strength Training May Reduce Fertility


We have long known that regular, moderate exercise can contribute to a healthy life and a healthy pregnancy. For those of us who enjoy a more strenuous routine, could the intense workouts actually be preventing us from conceiving? New research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) suggests as much.

The study of 3,000 Norwegian women shows a direct relationship between the intense exercise and the infertility. Data was collected between 1984-1986 from the Health Survey of Nord-Trondelag and a follow up study from 1995-1997. All of the participants were healthy, of childbearing age, and had no history of fertility issues.

The first survey asked about exercise habits and the follow up asked about their pregnancies. Two groups experienced an increased risk of infertility: those who trained almost every day and those who trained to exhaustion. Among the later group, fertility problems were reported by 24%, and 11% by the group that trained everyday. Researchers adjusted the data for other contributing factors and still found the elite sportswomen had a 3.5 times greater risk of impaired fertility.

A theory has developed that strenuous activity may drain the body of energy to support a pregnancy and maintain the necessary hormone profile. Indeed, moderate exercise remains a positive for reproduction providing better insulin function and an improved hormonal profile. How do you know what the right level is for you? Talk to your doctor. But if you are having trouble conceiving, this study suggests a simple adjustment in exercise routine may help.

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) (2009, November 23). Hard training may reduce fertility in women.


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