8 Motivating Tips for Exercising for PCOS

Regular physical activity, or exercise, is an essential part of managing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). If you’re like some women though, exercise may be one of the last things you want to do. Many women with PCOS have had negative experiences with exercise or associate it as punishment that only happens when one is dieting. Others who let poor body image take over their lives and don’t want to be seen exercising in public.

Moving your body can be hard work. It is effort. You may sweat in the process and have to shower. I get it. In high school I used to do everything I could to avoid going to gym class. But the rewards of exercise outweigh the negatives.

Health Benefits of Exercise for PCOS

  • Improving mood and creativity
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving body image and self-esteem
  • Reducing risk for disease
  • Lowering insulin
  • Aiding in weight management
  • Boosting ovulation
  • Reducing the risk for gestational diabetes

Over time, I have come to enjoy giving my body physical activity and even look forward to it. I now play in a tennis league, swim, walk, do yoga, and lift weights on a regular basis. Here’s what’s helped me. I hope these tips motivate you to exercise as well.

Do What You Enjoy

In gym class you may have been forced to run a mile or play games you didn’t like or were not good at. There’s no fun in that! But as an adult, you get to decide what form of physical activity you choose and you may as well make it something you like. For instance, do you like to walk around your neighborhood or hike? What about group activities such as water aerobics or Zumba? Enjoy playing tennis? Sign up for a group clinic at your skill level.

Be Realistic

If you don’t exercise regularly but would like to, it’s important to set realistic and attainable goals. Is it realistic for you to run 5 days a week when you haven’t worn a pair or running shoes in over a year? Start with setting a goal for what is doable and attainable for you. That could be one day of an activity for the first week. Same goes with the length of time that is realistic for you to complete it.  You can always change your goal and modify as you meet it.

Try New Activities

Don’t be timid to try new activities that interest you. Maybe your gym has a class you’ve heard about. See if you can observe part of the class through the window so you know what to expect. Let the instructor know you are new. They can keep an eye out for you on your form so you don’t get hurt. You never know, that new activity may just be your next favorite.

Enlist a Friend

Exercising with a friend can boost compliance for some women. Sally, a private nutrition coaching patient of mine wanted to walk on her lunch hour to add more activity into her day but wanted company. She asked around and found two other female coworkers who were interested. They now walk together most days of the week for 20 minutes after eating their lunch. Sometimes others have joined them.

Schedule It

Scheduling an activity and putting it in your calendar like a doctor’s appointment can increase the chances of you committing to your goal. Having a weekly class that you attend can also help with compliance as you get to know the regulars and become one of them. It’s also a great way to make new friends.

Enlist Help

If you’re not sure where to start, ask for help. If you’re interested in weight training for example, consider a session or two with a personal trainer. He or she can create a plan for you, walk you through machines or exercises, and show you proper form to avoid injury. If you want to learn tennis and aren’t ready for a clinic yet, consider private lessons until you are comfortable to play with others.

Buy New Clothes

I always look forward to a workout when I have a new outfit to wear that I love. If it’s in your budget, splurge on some awesome active wear that are comfortable and make you feel good. New shoes are a must, especially if yours are worn out because they can hurt your feet and make your activity less enjoyable.

Change Up Your Playlist

Lastly, add some new music to your playlist. A study in Sports Medicine showed that individuals who listened to music during their workouts worked out longer than those without music. Listening to your favorite songs will boost your mood, motivate you and make you want to move.

Let us know! How do you find motivation to exercise? What’s your favorite workout and why?

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