IVF specialist, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, warns that those who regularly sit down for too long may have problems with their fertility in the long run.
This situation applies to both male and female, says Ajayi, the medical director of Nordica Fertility Centre.
Ajayi notes that sedentary lifestyle choices continue to be the rule, rather than the exception these days.
“In fact, the tendency to lead sedentary lives is becoming what can be described as a global epidemic. Besides being responsible for millions of deaths, sedentary lifestyles can have debilitating effects on fertility,” he states in his weekly column in PUNCH.
The amount of time that you spend on the computer or before the TV might not be entirely responsible for decreased testicular function or hormonal dysfunction, but dropping sperm counts and the decline in male fertility can be traced to chemical exposures or increasingly sedentary lifestyles.
If you are a man working in sedentary jobs or participating in more sedentary hobby activities, you can begin to become more active by simply stretching, bending, and turning – working up to a goal of about 10 minutes worth every hour.
“Gaining more physical activity into an otherwise sedentary routine could make all the difference that you may require,” the physician says.
A sedentary lifestyle can cause problems such as hormonal imbalance and weight issues that impact egg quality, which can increase your risk of infertility as a woman. In a man, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to low sperm quality and scrotal heating, which can also cause infertility.
Other lifestyle factors affecting fertility include nutrition, weight, and exercise; physical and psychological stress; environmental and occupational exposures; substance and drug use and abuse; and medications.
“If you are obese, underweight or engage in strenuous physical labour and excessive exercise, you are at risk.
“If you smoke, drink, use illegal drugs, have high blood pressure, and undergo radiation therapy or chemotherapy, these can all impair your fertility.
“Being active by doing regular moderate exercise before and after you get pregnant will help you have a healthy pregnancy and birth,” the doctor added.
The bottom line
Avoid sitting down for long periods. Cut down the amount of time you spend sitting down (being sedentary).
You can set a reminder on your phone to stand up regularly and try taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.
Turning something that happens every day into physical activity is a brilliant way to get more active.
Talk to your physician if you want to have a baby but are concerned about exercise and the effects on your menstrual cycle or your fertility.
Generally, if you are concerned about your fertility, consult a doctor or a fertility specialist for advice and treatment options.
You and your partner may both find it helpful to support each other to lead a healthier lifestyle as you prepare to have a baby together.