When it comes to movement and PCOS, finding the right balance is key.
Both too much and too little exercise can worsen PCOS symptoms.
In this chapter, we’ll cover how to work out if you are over or under exercising as well as the best form of exercise for PCOS.
Getting some form of movement into your week is important for improving insulin resistance, lowering inflammation, and keeping stress hormones at bay.
The International Evidence Based Guidelines for PCOS recommend “a minimum of 150 min/week of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 min/week of vigorous intensities or an equivalent combination of both, including muscle strengthening activities on 2 non-consecutive days/week”.120
This could be a 15-minute walk to and from your car or the train station each work day, plus some simple squats and lunges twice a week at home.
If exercise is new for you, start small and build from there.
Some of the best forms of exercise to lower cortisol and inflammation and improve insulin resistance are low-intensity exercises like walking, gentle swimming, gardening, and playing with your kids.
Aim to include as much of this in your day as possible. If you work at a desk, consider trialing a standing desk.
Organize walking meetings or catch ups with friends. Park further away.
Or take a walk around the block on your lunch break.
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It sounds trivial, but getting organized before going to bed at night can really help with motivation the next morning.
If you are going to a gym class, pack your bag so you can grab it and go before letting the excuses creep in.
If you exercise at home, lay your shoes and socks out next to your mat, fill a water bottle and decide on the routine you’ll follow so you can simply hit play and get started.
The five-minute rule is a technique used in cognitive behavioral therapy to help with procrastination.
You can use this in any area of your life where you struggle to get started, but it works particularly well with exercise.
If you just can’t start your workout because the idea of a full 20 minutes seems overwhelming, tell yourself you only have to commit to five.
Do just the first five minutes of a workout and then stop and assess.
Do you think you could do another five?
99% of the time, you’ll find that once you get going and the endorphins start flowing, you’ll be able to keep going.
If after the first five minutes you genuinely feel too tired to keep going – honor that.
Your body knows what’s best.
This technique works well if you genuinely don’t have time to exercise because of your schedule.
Instead of a formal exercise practice, try adding “snack sized” bursts of exercise throughout your day.
For example, while you are waiting for the kettle to boil, do ten squats.
While in the lift, do five calf raises (rise up from flat feet onto your toes and back down again).
When you’re on the phone, march on the spotor walk around the meeting room.