As with carbohydrate intake, the answer to this is moderation. Some exercise is healthy and normal – even for pregnant women. Too much exercise sends your body into “fight or flight” mode, putting fertility on the back burner. Especially for women who are currently pregnant, lighter and low-impact exercises like walking and swimming have the added benefit of being very gentle on your bones and joints, which are already under a heavier load than usual. Heavy weightlifting and extreme endurance sports, on the other hand, can even contribute to miscarriage: 6 months into your pregnancy is not the time to go for a personal best on the squat rack!
Another lifestyle factor that contributes to infertility is stress. Technically, poor nutrition and overtraining are also stressors, but when most people think of stress, they conjure up images of their demanding boss, their frantic morning commute, or the mounting pile of bills in their inbox. This kind of chronic stress causes higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which reduces fertility in women through a variety of channels. In men, cortisol may also lower testosterone, with negative consequences for overall fertility and sex drive.
In sum, a Paleo diet is wonderful for fertility, but diet is not the only benefit involved: the Paleo lifestyle (plenty of rest and relaxation, moderate exercise, and lower stress levels) is also an important part of the overall picture. Activities like prenatal yoga or special meditation techniques aren’t harmful in this regard – if you enjoy them, there’s no problem with them – but they also aren’t necessary. Getting moderate exercise of any kind and making an effort to reduce the stress in your life will have most of the same benefits, keeping you in “rest and digest” mode.
Fertility and Nutrition: Avoiding Toxins
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