Anyone suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS must try to do everything to keep the symptoms of the condition in check. While it can be frustrating to know that it cannot be cured, managing it is what you can do.
PCOS leads to some inevitable symptoms that take a toll on your health. However, you can manage with some lifestyle tweaks, majorly including PCOS exercises that can help manage PCOS.
Get started on your journey to manage PCOS with this article.
About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
For the uninitiated, PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects approximately one in five women in the whole world. Some of the common symptoms of the condition include irregular periods, weight gain, facial hair, mood swings, depression, diabetes, endometriosis, and other diseases.
A hormonal issue that occurs during the reproductive years is called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Periods may not come on very frequently if you have PCOS. Or maybe you get long-lasting periods. Additionally, you can have an excess of the hormone androgen in your body.
Along the outside edge of the ovary, several tiny fluid sacs form in people with PCOS. These are known as cysts. Immature eggs are present in tiny cysts filled with fluid. The term for these is follicles. The follicles don't consistently release eggs.
The precise cause of PCOS is not known. The risk of long-term consequences including type 2 diabetes and heart disease may be reduced with early diagnosis, treatment, and weight loss.
Compared to women without PCOS, women with PCOS have greater rates of insulin resistance. Your body's capacity to utilize blood sugar for energy is impacted by insulin resistance. Doctors have linked sedentary lifestyles and increased body weight as potential causes of insulin resistance.
PCOS can cause high blood cholesterol levels, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and increased risks for pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, which are characterized by high blood pressure and can lead to organ damage.
Not all PCOS sufferers are overweight. The good news is that, regardless of weight, physical activity is something you can do for your health when you have PCOS.
But all this can be managed by changing your lifestyle by eating right, exercising, and medication.
Does Exercise Help Manage PCOS Symptoms?
There’s no denying that exercise offers innumerable benefits and improves the way of living, but does it help manage PCOS benefits? Weight gain and insulin resistance are two of the most common symptoms of the disease. Several studies have found that performing any form of exercise can help manage both1https://www.asterdmhealthcare.com/health-library/exercise-for-pcos.
A study published in the Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology found that exercise helped women with PCOS. It helps lose or maintain a healthy weight. It also showed that regular physical activity can help manage healthy insulin levels2https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/exercise-for-pcos.
PCOS Exercises: Exercises for PCOS
All of us need regular exercise because it has so many advantages, but people with PCOS need it even more. Due to their insulin resistance, people with PCOS are more likely to become obese and develop diabetes, and it can be challenging to reduce weight.
Lack of physical exercise and excessive body weight are related, and both may be contributing factors to insulin resistance. So you can lose weight by exercising and eating well.
Exercise will also aid in regulating your hormones and lowering your testosterone levels, which is another distinct benefit. This will lessen PCOS symptoms including acne and excessive hair growth.
The key advantages of PCOS exercises are outlined in more detail below, along with other helpful exercises for PCOS:
Many individuals don't realize how efficient walking is. But one of the simplest and healthiest methods to move your body and improve general well-being is to walk. It is free and has almost no unfavorable side effects. Walking can increase stress resilience by lowering stress hormones, reducing inflammation, increasing endorphins (the brain's feel-good chemicals), and boosting endorphin levels.
his can suppress testosterone production and support your adrenal glands. Research demonstrates that walking, especially after eating, has significant advantages for blood sugar and can help lower blood sugar levels by enhancing insulin sensitivity and is one of the best exercises for PCOS sufferers3https://www.healthshots.com/fitness/staying-fit/manage-pcos-with-these-5-pilates-moves/.
Running, swimming, uphill trekking, rowing, and cycling are examples of cardio workouts that increase heart rate. Cardio exercises come in a variety of intensities. Moderate cardio workouts include advantages such as enhancing cholesterol levels, brain function, blood sugar control, sleep quality, and mood.
3. Strength Training:
Weights, resistance bands, or your body weight are frequently used in strength training exercises, which concentrate on developing muscle. Similar to cardio, there are different levels of intensity for strength training, as well as advantages and disadvantages, depending on how you do it. Numerous advantages of moderate strength exercise include improved blood pressure, lowered blood pressure, support for metabolic function, and stronger bones.
While holding various positions, yoga comprises moderate movements that concentrate on stretching, balancing, and mild toning. According to a short study on women with PCOS, those who practiced yoga for an hour, three times a week, saw significant drops in their levels of free testosterone and DHEA as well as improvements in their levels of anxiety, sadness, and menstrual cycle management.
5. Core Strength:
Using your body weight, resistance bands, or weights during strength training helps you gain muscle. Resistance training was found to be more successful than other forms of exercise at lowering the Free Androgen Index (testosterone levels) in women with PCOS, according to research on the various exercise therapies for PCOS. Strength exercise at both "vigorous" and "moderate" levels produced beneficial effects, and the more frequently you did it, the better. Simple activities like push-ups and tricep dips strengthen the upper body, enhance insulin sensitivity, and continue to burn calories even after the session is over.
6. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training):
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, consists of short bursts of cardiac activity that are performed at an extremely high intensity, followed by a rest time of at least one minute. HIIT helps with fat burning and reduces insulin resistance. HIIT forces your body to engage in extra post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), also known as afterburn, by creating an oxygen debt to your muscles. Therefore, even after exercise, your body continues to burn fat.
Watch the video below to learn about PCOS exercises:
How Important is Exercise for PCOS?
- Balancing your hormones - Exercise can assist in balancing your hormones by increasing endorphins while decreasing estrogen and insulin.
- Improving your mood - Due to hormone imbalances and PCOS symptoms, people with PCOS may be more susceptible to depression. Exercise regularly releases endorphins (happy hormones).
- Aiding weight loss - When you have PCOS, trying to lose weight might be discouraging. You can lose weight by engaging in daily exercise that you love and following a healthy eating regimen.
- Improving your sleep quality - Exercise can promote restful sleep. Snoring, sleep apnea, and other issues are more common in those with PCOS. Obesity also exacerbates these issues.
- Reducing your risk of diabetes - Aerobic activity can enhance insulin sensitivity which can help in reducing the risk of diabetes.
- Helping to manage cholesterol - Women with PCOS are more likely to have elevated cholesterol, which can be decreased with exercise and a good diet.
- Lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases - High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease are both more likely in you. Your heart's health will improve with exercise.
The Best Exercise Plan for PCOS
- Cardiovascular steady-state exercises: If you are exercising moderately, these exercises will cause your heart to beat rapidly, typically at a rate of 50 to 70 percent of its maximum. By taking your age away from 220, you can get your maximum heart rate. This group of aerobic workouts can include walking, bicycling, dancing, and enrolling in aerobics classes.
- Workouts that combine high-intensity exercise bursts with rest periods are known as HIIT. Burpees, tuck leaps, and mountain climbers are examples of common exercises used in HIIT workouts. Maintaining a habit over the long run depends on how much you enjoy exercising.
- Interval training is a means to exercise at various intensities, though not always to your maximum heart rate as you would with HIIT. To keep your heart rate up during this type of training, various activities are frequently performed in the same session.
- Mind-body exercises: Women with PCOS have a more heightened physical response to stress and anxiety. Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are examples of mind-body workouts that can not only burn calories but also lower stress levels, which can increase PCOS symptoms. Thus, this should be a part of your PCOS exercise plan.
- Strength training: To increase muscular mass, use resistance bands, weights, or your body weight. This kind of exercise can aid in the development of strong bones and muscles.
It is advised to engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise for PCOS treatment like aerobic physical activity each day.
You can incorporate exercise into your life in a variety of ways, such as the following:
- Make up your exercise routine that consists of setting up six stations and working out for one to two minutes at each one. Exercises like lunges, bicep curls, crunches, and jumping jacks are examples.
- Daily walking on a treadmill or outside should last 30 to 45 minutes.
- Online or in a gym, attend an aerobics class. The following are some examples: spinning, boxing, and dancing.
- Utilize online or in-person HIIT training. You may finish a variety of at-home workout tutorials on YouTube. Just be certain the provider of the regimen is reliable.
- Utilize an online class, a studio, or a gym to practice yoga, Pilates, or tai chi. If you have never practiced, you might want to ask a trainer for advice so they can assess your form and safety.
Manage PCOS Symptoms with Yasmin Karachiwala’s Pilates Workout
Did you know that Pilates is one of the best exercises to manage the symptoms of PCOS? Celebrity fitness instructor Yasmin Karachiwala shared the information on her Instagram account.
Not only does it tone your body and improve core strength, but it also reduces the symptoms associated with PCOS. Karachiwala says that the key to managing PCOS includes a Pilates and cardio session, a healthy diet, mindfulness, and having a support system.
Having said that, she also shared 5 Pilates exercises that can help you manage the symptoms of PCOS. There is no cure to treat PCOS, but it can be managed with some lifestyle changes.
Here are 5 Pilates exercises that Karachiwala shared to help manage the PCOS symptoms:
5 Pilates Exercises to Manage PCOS:
1. Bridge Marching
Begin by lying on a mat with your legs straight and your hands by your sides. Now, slowly lift your knees, pelvis, and shoulders to form a straight line. Hold the position for a second and now slowly lift your right knee towards your chest. Return to the normal bridge, and repeat on the left side.
2. Single-leg Circles
Lie on a mat with your arms by your side. Now, lift your leg and flex your foot. Now, start rotating down to the mat and out to the side, circling back on the inner side.
3. Rolling Like a Ball
Sit on your mat and hold your shins with your hands. Curve your spine with your head tucked in, your neck long and your chin slightly down. Now, roll back to your shoulders pulling back on your abs. Now, roll back using your abdominal strength.
4. Side Kneeling Circles
Kneel on a mat. Now, slowly place your right hand on the mat and your left hand on your waist. Raise and extend your left leg out to the side. Start making small circles clockwise. Do this until the end of the set, and repeat on the other side.
5. Plank to Pike
Begin in a classic plank position. Now, tighten your core and lift your hips upward to the ceiling, making an opposite C with your body. Now, come back to the plank position. Keep the movement slow when you do this.
Effects of Exercise on PCOS
Changing your lifestyle for the better is essential for managing PCOS. Two of the most effective methods to do that are through diet and exercise, and both must be addressed for these lifestyle changes to be successful. For women with PCOS, regular exercise has amazing advantages that go far beyond weight loss.
Below are some of the effects of PCOS exercises:
- Enhances Insulin Sensitivity: Studies have shown that regular cardio and strength training can help your body respond to insulin more effectively, reducing your risk for diabetes and other issues.
- Lowers Cholesterol: High triglycerides and cholesterol are more common in PCOS-affected women. The metabolic syndrome, which is more common in PCOS-affected individuals, can also be exacerbated by this. When paired with a healthy, low-fat diet, exercise can help lower cholesterol.
- Increases Endorphins: Depression symptoms are more likely to appear in PCOS women. Your body releases endorphins during exercise, which are hormones that foster emotions of well-being. You can manage your stress better and lessen some depressive symptoms by doing this.
- Better Sleep: Regular exercise can help you sleep better and fall asleep more quickly. Sleep apnea, snoring, and even insomnia are more common in women with PCOS. See if regular exercise—just not right before bed—can improve your ability to sleep at night.
- Hormone Regulation: Your body uses the fat that is already stored in your body as fuel when you burn more calories than you consume. Of course, doing this aids in weight loss and insulin reduction. In addition, having too much fat affects the way estrogen is produced in your body. Getting rid of some of those additional fat deposits will help regulate your hormones and, ideally, PCOS.
The following advice can be helpful if you're unsure of how to start establishing or changing your fitness regimen:
- Concentrate on the motions you find enjoyable: Exercise ought to be enjoyable! Find what makes you happy by spending time investigating various choices.
- Organize and rank it: In the same way, you would reserve time for an appointment or other commitments.
- Keep an open mind: The context, as always, is everything. Be prepared to adjust your training regimen as necessary and keep aspects like sleep, stress, nutrition, etc. in mind at all times.
There is no ideal workout regimen, and each person's exercise program will be slightly different. In the end, we aim to develop a movement regimen that is supportive of PCOS recovery and whole-body health. This is continuously evaluating the situation and using your body's response to make adjustments.
What about Diet and PCOS?
Your PCOS symptoms may be reduced by working with a dietitian to encourage appropriate eating behaviors. Type 2 diabetes is more frequently diagnosed in PCOS-positive women than in PCOS-negative women. Women with PCOS must consume high-quality, high-fiber carbs, much like those with diabetes.
Your blood sugar levels will be stabilized as a result of this. A balanced PCOS diet will assist in maintaining your body's homeostatic equilibrium. A healthy PCOS diet promotes insulin efficiency by supplying glucose for energy to your cells. Less insulin is released into your bloodstream as a result of this procedure, which reduces the synthesis of androgen and lessens PCOS symptoms.
When to Talk with a Doctor or a Trainer?
Your PCOS management plan may include exercise. Exercise not only benefits your physical health but also your ability to control stress. Finding a personal trainer and visiting your doctor might assist put you on a secure route if you are unsure of where to begin.
It is usually a good idea to discuss lifestyle modifications with your doctor when you have PCOS in order to enhance your health. If you have any medical conditions that could limit your ability to exercise, it's especially crucial to discuss these with your doctor when it comes to exercise for PCOS. Examples include problems relating to the heart or arthritis.
Make sure to consult your doctor or fitness instructor before making any major changes in your lifestyle. It could be a good idea to speak with a personal trainer if you haven't exercised in a while or don't have a strong foundation in exercise safety or basic form. Your personal trainer ought to be certified in fitness by a recognized body.
If you commit to exercising at least three times each week, your PCOS symptoms may get better. Regular cardio and strength training have been shown to improve your body's response to insulin, reducing your risk for diabetes and other issues. Yes, but remember that women with PCOS do have trouble losing weight even with a healthy diet and consistent cardio and strength training, so PCOS exercise weight loss shouldn't be your main motivation for working out. Strength training, cardio, walking, yoga. Women should work to create the best exercise for PCOS routine that promotes both overall body health and PCOS recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions about PCOS Exercises
If you commit to exercising at least three times each week, your PCOS symptoms may get better.
Regular cardio and strength training have been shown to improve your body's response to insulin, reducing your risk for diabetes and other issues.
Yes, but remember that women with PCOS do have trouble losing weight even with a healthy diet and consistent cardio and strength training, so PCOS exercise weight loss shouldn't be your main motivation for working out.
Strength training, cardio, walking, yoga.
Women should work to create the best exercise for PCOS routine that promotes both overall body health and PCOS recovery.