We have received several emails in response to our previous post requesting more details and guidance in this path. I will try my best to share suggestions based on Ayurvedic principles and my clinical experience.
In the previous post, we have discussed the importance of choosing the right kind of workout for PCOS. We have also talked about finding the right balance for the exercise program which should be a combination of
Building strength and flexibility
More consistency than intensity
Rest, recovery and relaxation
To achieve this, the following plan can help you to a great extent.
Warm-up and dynamic stretches- 5 minutes
Movements- 5 minutes
Asanas/ Walking- 15 minutes
Slow-sustained/Static stretches- 5 minutes
Pranayama- 5 minutes
Shavasana/Cool down- 5 minutes
The timings given for each activity in the above sequence is keeping in mind the beginners who are embarking on this fitness journey. It is good to follow these time spans for about 15 days, before increasing them. Though the timings can be increased as and when you feel more confident about your stamina and endurance, following the sequence will be still beneficial.
1. Warm-up and dynamic stretches
Warming-up and stretching are greatly beneficial as a pre-workout activity. Due to the impatience to get on to the main workout, these are many a times neglected or rushed through or skipped entirely. But it is important to remember that stretching before workout only enhances the quality of the workout and also prevents injuries to a large extent. The warmed up muscles enhance the function and intensity of the workout. Dynamic stretches include quick and rhythmic movements of all muscle groups. The repetitive movements should be gentle and slow at first and should increase in speed and range of movement slowly. The joints also be moved in firm and rhythmic movements to give more flexibility and remove stiffness.
Chakki Chalanasana (Churning Mill Exercise): This one is more of a movement, then an asana. It stretches all the major muscle groups and the lower back and warms up the body further preparing it for the asanas or the walking
Butterfly movement: The flapping movement in this activity helps to loosen the hip joints and the stiffness in the knees and lower back.
While there are many asanas which are helpful for PCOS, these 5 asanas below can be a good starting point for beginners. Being mindful of the posture and learning the breathing pattern for the asanas are very important while performing the asanas.
Surya Namaskar- 4 rounds (alternating right and left:2+2)
4. Slow-sustained/Static stretches: These are stretches which are opposite to dynamic stretching and is a very useful post- workout activity. These stretches are achieved gradually and held in a position for a certain amount of time, usually about 30 seconds. These stretches relax both the body and mind. These stretches also help prevent cramping, pain and catches after exercise.
5. Pranayama: These breathing practices will help you to cool down and feel refreshed. Avoid the intense ones like Kapala bhati in the beginning and practice the following.
Jalandhara Bandha (This is holding activity, not a breathing technique, very useful to improve the function of the thyroid gland)
6. Shavasana/Cool down: Do not neglect this wonderful asana which helps to cool down and relax you both mentally and physically. Mind your breath and practice body awareness during this asana.
I hope this post will inspire you to start your exercise program with confidence.
Please note: The above advice is generic, and I suggest that you be mindful of your current fitness levels, any previous injuries and stamina.
Discuss with your doctor about the suitability of this program for you.