PCOS comes with its own complications but leading a healthy lifestyle can help you take control. Exercise is an important and irreplaceable part of a healthy lifestyle. Here are some exercises for PCOS that can help manage the condition and prevent its complications.
“Mirror mirror on the wall, sick of losing hair y’all?” Hair loss can be distressing and it may be caused due to a huge list of reasons. Even with hormonal conditions such as PCOS, hair loss can be one of the most troubling problems. If you see a lot of hair flowing away in the shower or are experiencing bald patches on the scalp, PCOS may be the cause. Read on to know more!
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Physical Exercise: What is the Relationship?
Let us tell you about PCOS and exercise. Regular physical exercise is one of the most beneficial lifestyle choices you can make to improve your health. Being physically active can not only improve your body’s health, but it is also important for strengthening your muscles and bones and enhancing your ability to perform daily activities. Not just that, exercise works wonders for your mental health as well.
PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. In women with PCOS, the ovaries produce more than the normal amount of male hormones called androgens, which are usually present in a smaller amount in females.
As a result, the ovaries are unable to release eggs (ovulation), which causes irregular menstrual cycles and other symptoms of PCOS, including weight gain and infertility.
Although the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, insulin resistance in a woman’s body is one of the biggest contributory factors to PCOS. Studies have shown that a lack of physical activity and excess body weight contributes to insulin resistance. Thus, exercise becomes an important factor in maintaining a healthy weight and managing PCOS.
How Does Exercise Work for PCOS?
If you have PCOS, you would know the emotional and physical distress it brings along. Weight gain is one of the prominent issues caused by the hormonal changes in PCOS. In PCOS, your body starts producing more testosterone than usual, which can cause irregularities in your menstrual cycle. This can cause PCOS symptoms such as increased acne, hirsutism, weight gain and infertility.
Losing weight and maintaining it in the healthy range can help manage the symptoms related to PCOS. Regular exercise has numerous benefits that are more than just weight loss in women with PCOS. Some of the benefits include:
1. Increases Insulin Sensitivity
Women with PCOS have higher insulin resistance as compared to women without the condition. Insulin resistance affects your body’s ability to use the sugar in your bloodstream for generating energy, which can further lead to Type 2 Diabetes.
PCOS workouts have shown to be beneficial in improving the body’s insulin sensitivity as it helps you burn more calories and use up blood sugar effectively.
2. Reduces Cholesterol Levels
PCOS is more likely to increase the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body. This can further cause complications such as metabolic syndrome, which is a collection of conditions such as heart disease, stroke and Type 2 Diabetes.
Exercising regularly can help reduce the cholesterol levels in your blood when combined with a healthy and low-fat diet.
3. Helps in Weight Loss
A large majority of women struggle with weight management in PCOS. Exercise is a great way to manage your weight, especially with PCOS.
Accompanying daily exercise with a healthy and balanced diet can help you lose effective weight.
4. Improves Sleep
Exercising regularly can tire out your body and help you fall asleep quicker. It also helps you have a better quality of sleep.
What are the Best Exercises for PCOS?
So, is there a thing like the only PCOS exercise or best PCOS exercise? No, you can perform any physical activity of your choice and it will have benefits for PCOS.
Cardio exercises (moderate-intensity) are done to get your heart rate up to 50 to 70% of your maximum heart/pulse rate. Cardio or aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, running, cycling and swimming, which can help improve symptoms of PCOS. They can increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin and also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 Diabetes. All you need to do is take out 30 minutes each day for cardio exercise to maintain your weight and mental health.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This type of exercise requires balancing between high-intensity exercise and low-intensity recovery rest. Exercises such as tuck jumps, burpees, spin biking and mountain climbers can help burn calories and reduce abdominal fat. Thereby, these exercises reduce the risk of further complications of PCOS. 15 to 30 minutes of daily HIIT is your way to go.
3. Mind-Body Exercises
Studies have shown that the bodies of women with PCOS have an increased response to stress and distress. Mind-body exercises such as yoga, pilates and tai chi can help manage this problem. They help you burn more calories and also help manage and reduce your stress levels, which worsen your PCOS condition.
4. Strength Training
Strength training can be highly beneficial in increasing the insulin sensitivity and metabolism rate of your body. Exercises using resistance bands and bodyweight exercises such as squats and push-ups can help improve insulin’s function in your body. You can also combine strength training with cardio to attain a lean body.
What is the Best Time to Exercise for PCOS?
You can indulge in an early-morning workout to start your day on a good note and get an important self-care activity out of the way before you move on with your day. It can help regulate your hormones, reduce appetite, and manage blood sugar levels throughout the day.
However, there is no such thing as the best time to exercise for PCOS. You can pick any time that suits your energy levels and schedule. What matters is that you do it with consistency.
How Much Exercise is Enough in PCOS?
It is advisable to perform at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days in a week. You can adjust to a routine and increase the time and intensity of your exercise if needed. It is always best to stick to a schedule for your routine to see effective results. If you have a problem sticking with a plan, you can start slowly by walking regularly each week and increase the intensity of your walk as you go forward.
Exercise Plan for PCOS
There is no set exercise plan for PCOS. You can make a plan that fits with your energy levels and schedule. You can also consult a doctor and fitness professional to design an exercise plan for you in accordance with your health condition.
You can add exercise to your routine in the following ways:
- Walking outdoors or on a treadmill for about 30 to 45 minutes a day.
- Taking up aerobic exercise classes at a gym or online such as dancing, boxing and stepping.
- Practice yoga, pilates or tai chi at a gym or using an online class. Take the help of a trainer if you are doing these for the first time to ensure safety.
- Take HIIT classes at a gym or online from a certified trainer.
- Create your own training session by including several exercises for a few minutes each. These can include squats, lunges, crunches, skipping ropes and jumping jacks.
Don’t Have Time To Read?
- PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. In women with PCOS, the ovaries produce more than the normal amount of male hormones called androgens, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and in some cases, infertility.
- Insulin resistance is one of the biggest contributory factors to PCOS and a lack of physical activity and excess body weight contributes to it. Thus, exercise becomes an important factor in maintaining a healthy weight and managing your PCOS.
- Regular exercise has numerous benefits for women with PCOS, such as increased insulin sensitivity, a decrease in cholesterol levels, help in weight loss, and better sleep.
- Some of the best exercises for improving your symptoms of PCOS include cardio or aerobic exercise, HIIT (high-intensity interval training), mind-body exercises such as yoga and pilates, and strength training.
- Aiming for at least 30 minutes of physical activity for 5 days per week can be great for PCOS.
- Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading diabetologists, order medicines, book lab tests, integrate blood sugar monitoring and other devices to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Also, check out our Diabetes Management program which provides 360º care. Let’s treat diabetes together.
Friendly Asked Questions
No, PCOS cannot be cured, even by exercise. However, exercise is great for your overall health and can provide some relief from PCOS symptoms and complications. Some of the benefits of regular exercise in PCOS are an increase in insulin sensitivity, a decrease in cholesterol levels, help with weight loss and better sleep.
No, exercise cannot make your PCOS worse. In fact, it has several benefits in PCOS and for your overall health.
Exercising at least 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week can help improve symptoms of PCOS. However, it is important to stick to a regular and consistent schedule to see effective results.
You can start with five surya namaskars per day to improve your health and relieve symptoms of PCOS. You can increase the number of surya namaskars as your body adjusts to the routine.
Zumba is a great aerobic exercise. It can assist you with maintaining a healthy weight, improving your health, and relieving PCOS symptoms if done regularly. So, all in all, zumba is a beneficial exercise for PCOS.