I’ve been reading a lot recently about health and fitness and as I’m a keen runner I started to think about how fitness has impacted my life, particularly throughout my egg freezing journey, but also more generally on the affect it has day to day.
Valerie Landis from Eggsperience speaks about the influencing factors on your potential fertility in this article www.eggsperience.com/things-that-hinder-your-fertility/. All of which I now have total respect for, but I also think it’s worth mentioning how fitness can help manage your mental health through difficult emotional times. I touched on this very briefly in my post about the side effects of the hormone medication, but I think it’s worth talking about in more detail.
I grew up with a healthy attitude to both food and fitness, especially where my Mum was concerned, as she always installed an ‘everything in moderation’ type of attitude to diet. I’ve always had this at the back of my mind, and even though I have periods where I may not have been that healthy I have always manage to find the balance somehow.
In my early 30’s I began to get into running and have found it an amazing outlet for stress, anxiety and balancing my mood, as well as the obvious physical benefits it brings. Don’t get me wrong I’m not obsessed with running and I’m definitely not a gym bunny, as I prefer to run outside and watch the world go by. The more you run, the easier it gets and the more distracted you become by your surroundings, which in turn means I can enjoy watching everyone/everything else!
Besides feeling fit, running also helps to keep the weight at bay, something which becomes harder and harder for most of us the older we get. The dreaded slowing of the metabolism isn’t something you have to think so much about in your 20’s, well at least I didn’t!
I remember a friend of mine used to say when we were trying to muster up the motivation to go for a run that ‘we should go and let the dolphins out’ and it would make us feel better, which obviously translated into letting out our ‘Endorphins’, but dolphins sounded much more fun!
When I made the decision to freeze my eggs I had already signed up to take part in a 10km race, something that I try to do a couple of times a year, in order to give me a focus for my running. I checked with the clinic that I was ok to keep running throughout my treatment. Their advice was much like I gather it would be for anyone trying to get pregnant, or during pregnancy, you should continue with the exercise that your body is used to. Don’t suddenly take up new forms of exercise which may impact on your body differently. This was music to my ears as I really need running as much for my physical wellbeing as my mental health. You see, it helps me switch off, let go of any anxiety or stress I may be feeling and unjumble things in my head, even if by just daydreaming whilst I run! I sometimes run with a really good friend of mine, which has also helped keep me motivated, plus we use the time for our weekly natter!
So I continued to run throughout my hormone injections and as I didn’t have any real side effects from the medication I was lucky enough that I felt in tip-top condition to take part in the race. It’s not like I’m a serious athlete, so taking part for me is more like a normal run, but I definitely didn’t push myself beyond what I felt comfortable on the day. If you have been doing any kind of fitness for any length of time, you will get to know how your body feels and you should listen to it if things don’t feel right.
I’m not sure how much truth there is in it, but my consultant said that the medication doesn’t really have an effect on women’s emotional well-being throughout the treatment. Most of the mood-related symptoms women report are apparently due to the stresses and worries they put on themselves throughout this difficult time, rather than the medication itself.
I totally get that running isn’t for everyone, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your mind occupied with other things so you’re not solely focused on egg freezing during this time. Exercise, meditation, massage, yoga will all help you stay relaxed and reduce stress, which is vital for your journey into egg freezing and keeping you sane during this life changing time.