Being overweight (or more correctly over fat) impacts upon health and importantly fertility. Data shows that overweight women with infertility take longer to conceive, have lower spontaneous conception rates, and have higher rates of infertility treatment cycle cancellation and failure . Males who are overweight or obese have a 50% greater chance of reductions in fertility .
If you are male and slightly overweight (average body mass index >25), aerobic exercise (jogging) improves markers of inflammation and oxidative stress that are known to negatively affect sperm [3, 4]. Importantly, for males moderate intensity exercise is superior to high intensity interval training for improving sperm health so you need to get the exercise prescription right.
In females with infertility, losing 10% of their maximum weight (eg. losing 7kg if you are 70 kg) through exercise and diet improves rates of conception, live birth rates and spontaneous conception (shown in the table below) .
There are so many benefits of eating well and exercising right for fertility besides weight loss though, and there is evidence that engaging in regular physical activity improves the outcome of assisted reproductive treatments, even without substantial weight loss. Being active regularly and eating well improves the outcome of assisted reproductive treatments even in you do not need to loose weight. Get moving and eat to optimise your fertility! Join us for expert advice at The IVF Project.
1. Luke, B., et al., The effect of increasing obesity on the response to and outcome of assisted reproductive technology: a national study. Fertil Steril, 2011. 96(4): p. 820-5.
2. Sunderam, S., et al., Assisted reproductive technology surveillance--United States, 2006. MMWR Surveill Summ, 2009. 58(5): p. 1-25.
3. Hajizadeh Maleki, B. and B. Tartibian, Moderate aerobic exercise training for improving reproductive function in infertile patients: A randomized controlled trial. Cytokine, 2017. 92: p. 55-67.
4. Hajizadeh Maleki, B., B. Tartibian, and M. Chehrazi, The effects of three different exercise modalities on markers of male reproduction in healthy subjects: a randomized controlled trial. Reproduction, 2017. 153(2): p. 157-174.
5. Kort, J.D., et al., A retrospective cohort study to evaluate the impact of meaningful weight loss on fertility outcomes in an overweight population with infertility. Fertil Steril, 2014. 101(5): p. 1400-3.