Exercising & Its Benefits For Women With PCOS

If you have PCOS, chances are, you already know about all the health issues that this medical condition can bring about over time. Although the symptoms of PCOS are not common for everybody, there are some symptoms that are more frequently seen than others.

However, if you’re not too familiar, some of the symptoms include sleep apnea, diabetes, infertility, high blood pressure, hirsutism, depression, anxiety, etc. A combination of these symptoms gives rise to different types of PCOS in women.

While PCOS is not curable, the symptoms however can be brought under control with an improvement in a person’s overall lifestyle. For instance, exercising and Keeping your dietary habits in check can be a good place to start if you are unsure about your treatment plan.

Nonetheless, for today’s article, we will solely focus on how exercising is crucial to bring the symptoms of PCOS under control.

Why Is Exercising Important For Women With PCOS?

Most women with PCOS are insulin resistant. This means that despite being able to produce the insulin required to break down sugar into glucose, their bodies are unable to do so.

Being resistant to insulin creates issues in the body causing improper regulation of blood sugar levels and a significant lack of energy triggering severe exhaustion throughout the day.

As per doctors, lack of exercise and being overweight are two of the major contributing factors for patients with PCOS being insulin resistant. So, if you are not overweight but still have PCOS, exercising can be a good precaution that you can take to avert it from generating other health conditions in the future.

Moreover, studies have shown that vigorous exercising can reduce BMI and insulin resistance in a woman who has been diagnosed with PCOS. Exercising can furthermore enable women to regulate their overall weight by either maintaining it or losing it.

Not to mention, being physically fit automatically boosts self-esteem making you feel healthier and happier.

What Type of Exercise Should Women With PCOS Do?

There is no one specific type of exercise that can benefit you more in case of PCOS. You have to mix and match it up every day to see which set works best for you.

Here are some of the exercises that you can consider while exercising:

–  Strength Training

Strength training requires you to use weights and resistance bands to strengthen your bones and build muscles in the body. If you are looking for a way to lose more calories while working out, building muscle mass could do the trick for you. This will also enable you to maintain a healthy weight.

–  Cardio

Cardio exercises generally enable you to use up the oxygen in your blood more efficiently, keeping you energized for hours. This is definitely a plus side to the usual fatigue that PCOS patients have to deal with.

Since more oxygen is pumped to all parts of the body, the heart is able to function a lot better, improving the entire circulatory system. Apart from improving your heart’s overall ability to function, doing cardio exercises also enhances your quality of sleep, boosts mood, energy, mental health, weight and metabolism.

Do note that the heart rate has to be higher than its normal rate (at least 50% higher) for the exercise to be considered as a cardiovascular exercise. Some examples of cardio exercises include cycling, swimming, running, speed walking, water aerobics, dancing, kayaking, mountain climbing, squat jumps, martial arts, split jumps, kickboxing, rollerblading etc.

If you are looking for a good cardio set up to exercise at home, the following machines can come in handy:

  • Treadmill
  • Rowing machine
  • Stepping machine
  • Stair-climber
  • Recumbent bike
  • Stationary Cycles
  • Elliptical Trainer
  • Upper body ergometer
  • Upright bike

Generally, high-impact cardio gives the best results. However, you can also count on low-impact and no-impact cardio to give you slow but steady outcomes. Experts suggest getting at least 30 minutes of cardio done every day for PCOS patients to stay fit.

In case you are undergoing treatment with IVF, getting in 30 minutes worth of cardio every day might increase your chances of getting pregnant.

–  Exercise for the Mind and Body

Mental health issues are a given for people with PCOS. Maximum women with PCOS suffer from depression, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), etc.

Doing mind and body exercises can be extremely helpful in these cases to help manage your stress levels. Exercises like Pilates, yoga, and tai chi can help to deal with increased stress levels while also lowering your calories.

As per yogis, there are certain yoga poses that can help to control symptoms of PCOS.

Recent studies have shown that yoga is extremely effective in decreasing testosterone levels in women with PCOS. Accurate results from studies show that women who performed yoga for an hour (3 times a week) had a 29% decrease in their testosterone levels.

–  HIIT Workouts

Very popular with women who suffer from obesity, HIIT workouts contain the perfect balance of rest intervals and intense exercise. Some examples of HIIT workouts include tuck jumps, mountain climbers and burpees.

–  Interval Training

This kind of exercise is suitable for those who like to do a set of different exercises in one single session. Interval training increases your heart rate, but not as much as HIIT workouts.

An Exercise Plan

Experts generally advise exercising regularly for at least 30 minutes to enhance your strength, energy and the ability to be more active. Here are some of the ways you can incorporate some physical activity in your daily routine –

  • Speed walk outdoors or on a treadmill for about 30-45 minutes
  • Customize your own set of exercises comprising of jumping jacks, crunches, squats, lunges and bicep curls. You can also pick your favourite exercises instead of the ones mentioned and do them in sets of 6.
  • Get enrolled for a dance, aerobics, gym, spinning or boxing class.
  • Do mind-body exercises like yoga and Pilates

Try incorporating about 30 minutes of exercise while following a diet in order to get your PCOS under control. Remember, the key is to be consistent with the workouts to see improvements in your ovulation and period cycles.

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

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