There’s never been a more important time to ensure regular exercise is a key factor in your Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) lifestyle. That’s because we increasingly live in a world where physical activity has been removed from our lives, with domestic appliances to wash and dry for us, cars to transport us and desks at which to sit and work or study.
One of the first lessons we learn at school is to ‘sit still’ – and we see nothing unusual in spending hours sitting down to watch TV or use a computer.
To understand how much, or little, exercise you need to meet your own fitness and PCOS weight management goals, it’s useful to consider the scientific principles behind most tailored exercise programs.
To be healthy, experts recommend being physically active for at least 30 minutes on least five days a week. One reason is that our bodies evolved over four million years to hunt to survive. Supermarkets may have removed the risk of imminent starvation but our biological inheritance still requires activity most days to keep in shape and prevent PCOS weight gain, which can underlie a variety of diseases.
Exercise intensity is measurable in a number of different ways. In a laboratory, it’s gauged by how much oxygen is being taken into the body and delivered to the working muscles. In the gym, it can be checked using a heart rate monitor, which records the impact of different workloads. It can also be estimated using the Borg scale, which asks exercisers how hard they perceive they’re working.
Levels of exercise intensity can best be described as strenuous, moderate or mild, depending on your current state of health and fitness. As scientists have discovered more and more about how the body responds to exercise programs, they’ve found that mild to moderate levels of physical activity are the main targets to aim for to achieve improved health. If you haven’t been active for some time, it’s important to build up to these levels over a period of weeks.
This might mean starting with a daily walk of just five minutes. Brisk or purposeful walking is a pace which makes you feel you’re making good progress while still being able to hold a conversation with a companion.
Of course, the fitter you become as result of regular exercise, the more strenuous your activity can become. Healthy exercise can include aerobics, cycling, swimming and weight-training, with a commensurate increase in your resulting sense of well being.
But don’t feel bad if you can’t run a marathon. Remember that a little exercise goes a long way. Any physical activity, no matter how small, is better than none and provides you with a health gain.
Just make the required effort and persevere. As soon as you move, you win!