The benefits of exercise for conception

Being fit and healthy is an advantage if you're thinking about starting or adding to your family.

Pregnancy can put a lot of strain on the body and is tiring. If you have the correct balance of muscular strength and flexibility, you can cope more easily with its demands.

Being in good shape can help you conceive in the first place. The body works more efficiently when you are fit and having a toned body usually makes you feel more confident about yourself.

So if you're looking to get in shape before getting pregnant, what better way than one of our running events? That way you can support our vital research work into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth into the bargain!

How active should you be?

The government recommends that everyone does 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week.

If you haven’t done much regular exercise before start with 15 minutes of continuous exercise three times a week.

Then you can increase that bit by bit to 30-minute sessions four times a week and then to daily exercise. The exercise should be enough to increase your heart and breathing rates, but you should still be able to have a conversation.

Ten steps to fitness

1. Gradually increase your activity level
Start off by walking more or joining a beginner’s dance or exercise class. Remember that any extra increase in activity can only do you good.

2. Set yourself small but achievable targets
Don’t make the mistake of trying to do more than you can really manage or you’ll lose heart and give up. Try to give yourself easy targets and keep building them up. Small, regular bouts of exercise are better than the odd hour once a month.

3. Look for activities that you find enjoyable
You are far more likely to keep fit if you enjoy what you are doing. Activities such as badminton, swimming, as well as yoga, pilates, belly dancing or even line dancing will all increase your overall activity level.

4. Find an exercise ‘buddy’
If you feel that you don’t have the time to get fit, try seeing if you can do something at lunchtime or encourage your partner or a friend to go for a walk or join a class with you.

5. Don’t worry about the way you look
You don’t need sportswear to do most types of exercise. Look out for comfortable baggy clothes rather than squeezing into lycra!

6. Avoid over-straining your muscles
Many people think that they should feel pain as they exercise. This is not true. You should feel that you have exercised, but not be stiff or uncomfortable. Over-straining muscles can lead to injuries.

7. Don’t have a large meal before exercising
It’s much harder to get your body going if you’ve eaten a lot before doing any kind of exercise. Have a light, healthy, digestible snack, such as a banana, if you are hungry beforehand.

8. Wear suitable shoes
It’s a good idea to wear flat comfortable shoes for walking, while you’ll need a proper pair of trainers for exercise such as jogging or aerobic classes. Choose trainers with cushioned soles – ask your local sports shop for advice on the best trainers for your exercise.

9. Drink water
Ideally, your exercise should make you just slightly breathless. This means that your heart and lungs are working a little harder than usual. You may be thirsty afterwards, so take some water with you to avoid dehydration.

10. Take some healthy snacks for afterwards
Many people feel hungry after they have exercised. Avoid high energy sugary drinks and snacks if you are also trying to lose a little weight. Choose healthy snacks such as a banana, apple or dried fruit. 

Read more

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2014. Next review date April 1st, 2017.

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