Exercise should be an important part of your PCOS treatment plan. Like many other metabolic conditions, PCOS can be improved through regular exercise.
Most women with PCOS know exercise is important to help them control their weight but that is not the whole picture. Even if you are at a healthy weight, exercise can help improve your PCOS.
Medical research has proven that exercise has a positive effect on PCOS in several ways. Regular exercise will help to:
- reduce androgens
- improve insulin resistance
- regulate cycles
- induce ovulation
- improve fertility
- increase energy levels
- improve self esteem
- reduce anxiety and depression
This lengthy list of benefits is very encouraging and should motivate all women with PCOS to be more active. Often women are left wondering what type of exercise will provide them with the most PCOS relief. The virtues of specific types of exercise for PCOS women is not a well research topic. However their are basic guidelines that women with PCOS can use to create their best workout plan.
Choose actives you like. The most important thing is to engage in regular physical activity. The best way to ensure you will stick with an exercise program is to select actives you enjoy.
Exercise regularly. According to the Jean Halies Organization for Women’s Health, 150 min of exercise per week with 90 minutes being moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise should be included in your PCOS treatment plan.
Vary your workout intensities and take days off. When it comes to intensity and recovery PCOS women should pay special attention. A combination of high and low intensity exercise is the best approach. Working out at high intensities will help encourage metabolic adaptations like improve insulin resistance. Exercising at lower intensities (brisk walking for example) will aid in recovery, prevent injury and can help reduce stress. Over exercising can be just as damaging as not getting enough exercise.
Try strength training. The effects of strength training on PCOS women is being researched as I am writing this article. Studies on type II diabetics have shown that progressive resistance training can improve their insulin resistance. Experts believe that PCOS women will experience the same positive outcome with resistance training. Start with 2-3 full body training sessions a week. When resistance training it’s important to keep yourself challenged. Once an exercise becomes easy you should increase the difficulty by adding weight or selecting a more challenging version of the exercise.
Use multiple measures of progress. Don’t focus solely on the scale. Even exercising PCOS women who continue to struggle with their weight will see other health improvement. You may want to have your hormones and blood lipids tested before you start an exercise program so that you can monitor your overall health as you engage in more physical activity. PCOS women should also measure their progress by how their energy levels and emotional health are impacted by exercise.
Exercise is one of the most widely available, inexpensive and effective treatments for PCOS. If you would like to reduce your PCOS symptoms and prevent future complications regular exercise should be the cornerstone of your PCOS treatment plan.