Benefits of exercise that women with PCOS should know about Avinash Rajapet - Program Director & Head Trainer, Fitbee December 5, 2020

Benefits of exercise that women with PCOS should know about

It’s a well-known fact that women face plenty of issues with their menstrual cycle. One of them is polycystic ovarian syndrome, commonly known as PCOS. It is a disorder that affects adolescent girls and women globally.  

Drumrolls, please, because we do have good news!

Many of its symptoms can be improved with a few tweaks to one’s lifestyle, particularly with exercise.  

PCOS may not be curable, but it is absolutely possible to make positive changes by practicing dedicated exercises for PCOS combined with the right diet guided by the experts. 

Let’s talk about science for the more inquisitive minds! 

The general function of ovaries is to produce hormones such as Estrogen, Progesterone, and Androgens (hormones that are dominantly produced in males, like testosterone).  

But when the hypothalamus in the human brain sends incorrect signals to the pituitary gland, it results in ovarian dysfunction and excess production of Androgens (hyperandrogenism), leading to PCOS. 

Insulin resistance is a medical condition under which our body’s cells don’t properly react to Insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas whose primary function is to absorb glucose from the food.) The pancreas then secretes extra insulin to keep the blood sugar level normal. But sometimes, that may still not be enough for your body to absorb glucose, raising the risk of type-2 diabetes and obesity.  

Excess insulin also increases the production of testosterone, which prevents ovulation, causing infertility or changes in the menstrual cycle. 

Symptoms of PCOS: 

  • Difficulty in getting pregnant due to reduced fertility (Anovulation) 
  • Irregular or absent periods (Oligomenorrhea) 
  • Excess hair on your body and face (Hirsutism) 
  • Less hair on your head (Alopecia) 
  • Changes in your skin such as acne and dark skin patches 
  • Insulin resistance  

Women with PCOS may notice their self-esteem and body image take a hit because of the way it affects their bodies. People with PCOS may also experience depression and anxiety from all these physical changes that arise after their initial diagnosis.

Yes, hormones can be extremely messy like that. But we got you! 

Managing PCOS: 

The treatment for PCOS must focus both on hyperandrogenism, anovulation, and reducing complications like Insulin resistance arising from metabolic complexities. This can be achieved through medication or, more preferably, lifestyle modification.   

PCOS and weight: 

It won’t be correct to say that everyone with PCOS should consider trying to lose weight because metabolic health varies from person to person, and not everyone with PCOS is overweight or obese. Stress, sleep issues, medications, and other conditions in the body can also affect whether or not one can lose weight easily. 

But weight loss makes for an essential part of the PCOS treatment regime. It practically improves every symptom. In obese, anovulatory PCOS women, weight loss restores ovulation and pregnancy rates, lowers testosterone and insulin levels. Weight loss also raises sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels, and shows a great effect on psychological parameters too. 

Two practical ways we all know, for reducing body weight are – eating a balanced diet and exercising. 

Working out can increase cells’ response to insulin and facilitates the usage of glucose, for energy, easily. It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. 

Here are some exercise types to consider: 

  1. Cardiovascular workouts: These are workouts that get your heart pumping at a better rate. Examples are – walking, riding a bicycle, dancing and aerobics. 
  1. Water sports: Swimming and aqua-aerobics are great activities for women with PCOS. Water activities of all kinds tone your whole-body shape and physique while also building strength. In addition, they are fun too! Get ready to get wet! 
  1. HIIT workouts: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves balancing intense exercise bursts with rest intervals while doing different exercises in the same workout session to keep the heart rate up. Doctors prefer HIIT over general cardio exercises because it is highly effective for increasing cardiovascular fitness and decreasing waist size. Burpees, tuck jumps, jumping jacks, jumping squats and jumping ropes are a few exercises that can be done in a HIIT session. 
  1. Mind-body exercises:  Women with PCOS have an enhanced bodily response to stress and distress. Mind-body exercises like Yoga and Pilates not only burn calories but also reduce stress levels. Yoga improves anxiety, ovulation, hormones, and metabolic parameters, all of which are critically important for managing PCOS. Beyond this, yoga also appears to have a favorable effect on cholesterol, lipid values, and insulin levels in women with PCOS. 
  1. Strength training: It involves using weights to build healthy muscles and bones. Bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, or triceps dips improve the sensitivity to insulin in your body. They can also boost your metabolism, thereby enabling the burning of more calories, even when resting, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes. 

These are mostly exercises that can be done with minimal equipment and in a small space. Women with PCOS are more likely to have sleep-related problems. Adding exercise to your daily routine helps get better sleep at night. It also causes the body to release endorphins –hormones that promote feelings of wellness. 

It is vital to keep in mind all the benefits mentioned above and come up with a workout regime that not only helps manage PCOS but also helps with overall health and fitness.   

Exercise is for everyone –whether you have PCOS, don’t have PCOS; are overweight or average weight; young or old. Exercise is vital for a healthy body and mind; every other benefit is only a happy byproduct. 

Also, if you are struggling with symptoms of PCOS and do not know where to start, we are happy to help you to achieve your weight loss goals with a customized PCOS/PCOD diet plan and home exercises that will help you reduce your weight and manage your PCOS effectively.  

Also, check out our customers’ feedback and how they have benefitted from our PCOS/PCOD plans.

  • Reply
    December 8, 2020, 7:43 am

    Personal experience : cycles became regular just 4 months after exercising thrice a week.

  • Reply
    December 8, 2020, 7:44 am

    Yaa good msg

  • Reply
    December 8, 2020, 8:33 am

    Even I had pcos in my early 20’s.I change my life style lil bit..with homeopathic medicine I noticed a drastic change in pcos or I can say it’s completely cured….After delivery due to lots of fat intake now my periods are irregular so this time I want a proper change in my diet and also want to exercise so I join my hand in one of the leading fitness centre Fitbee…with proper diet and exercise and also with proper medication we can cure pcos

  • Reply
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