It goes without saying that physical exercise and a balanced diet are part of the recommended lifestyle changes for anyone struggling to conceive naturally. However, a very common misconception is that the more we exercise, the healthier our bodies become. Just as we need to balance our diet, we also need to balance our physical training. While we know that too little exercise is unhealthy, excessive or inappropriate exercise can also be a factor that negatively affects fertility.
What should we avoid?
Some people undertake a professional style training program in order to gain an athletic physique. These training methods are designed to achieve maximum performance in a particular discipline as a short term goal instead of for a long term health benefit. For example long distance running, triathlon, competitive weightlifting and Cross-fit.
In our traditional view we see this approach to exercise, on top of a demanding modern lifestyle, as a drain on our innate resources. Moreover, intense exercise gives off a signal to our brain that we are in danger, which triggers our “flight or fight” response of increased heart rate and blood pressure, restricted blood vessels and muscular tension. This survival mode state is contrary to the conditions we want to cultivate to maximize fertility.
What should we do?
Our approach to physical exercise is to gently work the body in a relaxed way which does not add tension and helps us to become more flexible and unified in our movements.
We want to engage in exercises which activate our “rest and digest” mode, where our bodies are geared to absorbing nutrients effectively and turning them into good quality cells which will form the basis of the ideal conditions to become pregnant.
We call these physical practices conscious exercise, or mindful movement. Tai Chi and Qi Gong are good examples of this kind of conscious exercise, which instead of holding tension in fixed postures like yoga, open the joints and improve circulation and energy levels. These movements also release endorphins, improve immune factors without adding tension to the system or causing excessive wear on the joints and tissues.
Consult a professional on what works best for your body. If you’d like to have a chat, send me an email at email@example.com.