Patients often ask me is exercise safe to do when trying to conceive and how much is too much. Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) standpoint is that light to moderate exercise strengthens the qi (energy) and builds the blood, but it becomes counterintuitive when performed excessively so. Too much exercise actually depletes the body of qi and blood which will negatively impact fertility. Since the general focus of treatment is to enhance and circulate blood flow to the reproductive organs so that they work more efficiently, I advise not over exercising to where you feel exhausted from your work out. You should feel energized and good after the correct workout routine. Everybody is going to have a different definition for what too much and too little exercise is. You really have to pay attention to how you feel. Generally, exercising at least three times a week will help to improve circulation of qi and blood to the reproductive organs nourishing them, and it boosts musculoskeletal tone.
Another aspect according to TCM is taking into account the patient’s Chinese medicine pattern. For example, in a patient that is deficient of blood it is recommended that they do not work out while on their period so as not to lose any more blood of which they are already lacking. Another example is if the patient only has qi deficiency (not including blood deficiency) then light, not excessive, exercise during menstruation is going to be a positive thing that will boost the body’s qi.
If patients are undergoing a medicated fertility treatment cycle then light exercise, like walking or gentle yoga, according to TCM is good, even every day, leading up to the patient’s procedure, whether that be an intra-uterine insemination (IUI) or an embryo transfer which is associated with an in-vitro fertilization cycle (IVF). I ask that the patients avoid walking however for a few days after their IUI or embryo transfer. For more information regarding TCM’s take on exercise and enhancing your fertility please feel free to contact us at anytime or call to make an appointment!
Anna Pyne LAc, MSOM, FABORM