According to the American Fertility Association, progesterone is a hormone that is released by the female ovaries, regulating menstrual function and pregnancy. Through the menstrual cycle, progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg, and if a pregnancy occurs, progesterone is needed throughout to support the growth and development of the baby. Various types of exercise can have effects on the way progesterone works in the body.
A Decrease in Progesterone
Strenuous or high-intensity exercise has been shown to decrease fertility in women by reducing the production of progesterone and directly affecting your menstrual cycle. According to BioNews, with a lack of production of progesterone, the menstrual cycle can be changed, or even delayed, which effects fertility and the ability to become pregnant. Although this is a temporary effect, excessive exercise can not only change your menstrual cycle, but it can also leave your body too exhausted to make the changes it needs to support a pregnancy.
Maintaining a Moderate Routine
As long as exercise is performed a moderate amount, rather than excessively, it can effect progesterone positively and regulate a problematic menstrual cycle, by boosting levels of progesterone if the body is not producing enough on its own. According to The American Heart Association, moderate exercise consists of 150 minutes of activity per week. The hormone progesterone – with the help of estrogen – act to burn fat, which moderate exercise can aid in. According to Metabolic Effect, Inc., higher-intensity, shorter duration activities, such as sprints can regulate progesterone levels, as long as this type of activity is not done in excess.
Lift for Stress
Weight training has benefits on levels of progesterone as well, according to Metabolic Effect, Inc. Moderate weight training performed two to three days per week can oppose the action of stress hormones, such as cortisol. When stress hormones are balanced, progesterone levels are more easily balanced as well. Moderate weight training also helps assure plenty of the human growth hormone, which progesterone plays a major role in, and is the hormone that supports a pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.
Keeping a Regular Cycle
Moderate levels of activity that are not performed in excess, including aerobic activity, short-duration high-intensity activity, and weight training two to three times a week, are best for keeping progesterone at a healthy level and keeping your menstrual cycle regular, especially if fertility is your goal. In most healthy adult women, exercise only negatively effects progesterone and throws off your fertility and menstrual cycle when high-intensity, excessive activity is performed.
- Patient Information Publications: Progesterone
- American Fertility Association: What is Progesterone?
- BioNews: too much exercise may be bad for fertility
- Metabolic Effect, Inc.: Female Hormones and Weight Loss
- American Heart Association: Some exercise is better than none; more is better to reduce heart disease risk