May 2015

Being a Couch Potato Risks Your Fertility

What a lot of couples might not know, there're many natural ways to treat infertility. They are out there probably because some of the reasons of infertility themselves also lie on
the 'natural' surface. One of those reasons is leading a sedentary lifestyle which is harmful for both women and men who're trying to have a baby.

When we talk about reasons of infertility, what we actually mean are the 'risk factors' of infertility. In medicine, a risk factor is something that raises the chances of developing a condition. Along with alcohol consumption, smoking, higher age, stress, lack of exercise (i.e. being a couch potato) is one of those risk factors.


First of all, what exactly is going on in our body so if we don't exercise, our fertility might reduce? When it comes to men's ability to conceive, it's all about sperm production and the quality of the semen also. When it comes to women, their fertility is 'counted' in the amount of certain types of hormones necessary for ovulation (progesterone, estrogen, and insulin). A man with good sperm and a woman with satisfactory level of those important hormones are a perfect couple for conception.


When a man spends most of his days in front of a computer screen or behind a steering wheel, the temperature of his scrotum may rise a few degrees. As the heat rises, sperm production can decrease. A woman who's, for example, overweight because of her slow lifestyle can have a lower level of insulin which, by-turn, might cause a body to produce high levels of testosterone which can stop egg production.


It might sound curious, but doctors say infertile issues in a woman might even be related to her lifestyle which she had led when she was a teenager. There's nowadays a huge number of teenaged girls in the developed world suffering from PCOS (which is a polycystic ovarian syndrome), one of the most common causes of infertility. As PCOS itself has syndromes that are very similar to puberty (irregular or painful periods, acne, pelvic pain, and patches of sick, darker, velvety skin), teenage girls don't normally even visit a doctor to check whether they're healthy or not.


PCOS is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and the main risk factors are obesity, and not enough physical exercise... Burdened with studies and hooked to gadgets, teenage girls these days lead a very sedentary life... PCOS has no overall cure, and only outer symptoms can be cured. In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is, as a result, used by some in whom other measures are not effective.


All the above sounds probably too 'medical', but the truth is: if you want to increase your chances to have a baby, it's better to get off of the couch and start moving your body at least a bit. Sometimes 'natural' changing of a lifestyle itself is more useful than a purposeful treatment in a clinic.



How much of exercise is enough? Research show a woman who exercises for more than seven hours a week may have ovulation problems (which means everything which is less is ok). There's no advised amount of exercise attributed to men.


People that sit more than four hours per day have a forty percent high risk to have fertility problems than those sitting less than four hours. Which means, in an ideal case, that would have been great to sit in the office just a half of a day, and spend the rest of the time doing something 'active'. Sadly, our capitalistic job market gaining from people working those straight 'nine-to-five' hours, doesn't often award us with the opportunity to have two jobs, one 'in the office', and another one which is 'the active one'.

However, some employers contribute to the 'office well-being' of their workers. For example, some organisations try to get employees moving through exercise classes at lunch. Other organisations offer a number of different screenings for employees, such as cholesterol or blood screenings. For example, I know of a company in Prague which pays to masseurs that come to give employees a massage a few times a week. It's though still pretty new to the Czech Republic.


It's also good to understand that those are only company's benefits. Today the benefits exist, but tomorrow the next economical crisis comes, and they are the first on a 'cutting of costs' list. We might have the feeling somebody else cares about our lifestyle, but actually nobody does. We're the ones who should find the time to exercise, to wake up earlier to run around the block, to allocate the money every month for a gym membership.


Also, exercising reduces mental stress and boosts endorphins. As happier the partners are, as higher frequency of sexual intercourse in their life is, so does automatically a chance of conception.


Last, but not the least: sex itself (when performed with devotion) is also a great exercise which doesn't require one to spend the money on a gym.