Keeping fit is important for health in general, but it’s also key in helping couples or individuals to conceive and to prepare for the demands of parenthood. 

Maintaining a healthy BMI helps with fertility, so regular, moderate exercise is advised for anyone involved in trying to conceive, regardless of gender.

Going through tests and treatment for infertility can be a stressful time for many individuals and couples. Exercise is a great stress buster and reducing stress can have a positive impact on fertility and conception.  

Exercise for male fertility 

Traditionally, most of the focus has been put on female health, when it comes to having a healthy pregnancy. However, the quality of sperm is not just important for conception, it’s also jointly responsible for the healthy development of the foetus and for the health of the child as it grows. 

Regular and moderate exercise reduces inflammation and helps the testicles to function better. It can also help to improve sperm quality and increase sperm count. Moderation is key, however, as strenuous exercise is believed to have a negative effect on fertility. As with any new form of exercise, it’s important to get advice from your GP, if you are uncertain whether your chosen form of exercise will aid or lessen your chances of conception. 

The testicles are outside of the male body, because for fertility, including good sperm quality, they need to kept at below body temperature. It’s advisable to remember this when exercising, as well as during everyday life. 

It’s also important to remember that exercise is most effective for good health and fertility, when undertaken in conjunction with maintaining a healthy diet and positive lifestyle choices. New sperm are being constantly created, so making positive changes now, could greatly increase your chances of conceiving in the near future. 

Exercise for female fertility

For female fertility, regular, moderate exercise is also recommended, while strenuous exercise may have a negative impact. 

Walking, dancing, swimming and cycling are examples that could be easy to fit in for regular exercise. Certain yoga poses can increase the blood flow to the pelvic area which stimulates the reproductive organs and improves fertility. Yoga is also great for stress release and relaxation and can help to lift your mood. 

Exercises that should be avoided when trying to conceive are rigorous or strenuous exercises which over-heat or over-stress the body. 

Before deciding on how much exercise to do, it’s important to take into account how fit you already are, whether you are overweight and whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions. Your doctor can advise you on what type of exercise would be beneficial for you and how much to exercise.

Is it OK to exercise during an IVF cycle or during IUI treatment?

While exercise is beneficial when trying to conceive naturally and also in the lead up to going through IVF, once the cycle starts, evidence suggests that exercise should be AVOIDED during some stages of the treatment process.  Around the time of egg retrieval and after embryo transfer are key times to avoid exercise. It’s important to discuss your own activity levels and exercise habits with your fertility specialist, to help you to avoid risk and increase your chances of a successful IVF or IUI cycle. 


Here, at the IVF network, we understand the challenges that infertility can present and the amount of questions that you may have. That’s why we offer information and support, through our dedicated channel of experts in the field of infertility and pregnancy and through our website and blog posts, to help you to make informed choices on your own, personal fertility journey.