PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a condition that affects one in every ten women of childbearing age and continues to have a lifelong impact. If you wonder what PCOS is, it is a syndrome with an imbalance of reproductive hormones in women's bodies. It leads to a condition where ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens.
PCOS can lead to various issues. Some significant symptoms include irregular periods, excessive hair growth, male-pattern baldness or thinning hair, weight gain, obesity, oily skin, acne, and even infertility. As of now, there is no definite cure for PCOS, but you can definitely learn to minimize the side effects.
Managing PCOS often involves changing several lifestyle factors. Exercising and eating right is a crucial one. These two lifestyle changes can help you in a significant way to avoid full-blown PCOS.
How Does Exercising Help In PCOS?
There are a few reasons why exercise can be beneficial for PCOS symptom control.
One of the hallmarks of PCOS is insulin resistance, a condition in which cells in your muscles, fat, and liver do not respond effectively to insulin and cannot efficiently absorb glucose from your blood. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, insulin resistance can progress to prediabetes and diabetes over time. Fortunately, exercise has been shown to increase glucose metabolism and help your body's cells digest glucose more effectively.
Second, managing your insulin levels can help lower testosterone levels, often high in PCOS women. As a result, a regular exercise regimen has the potential to aid in the treatment of testosterone-related symptoms such as acne, hair loss, and abnormal hair growth on your face.
Finally, many women with PCOS battle with their weight, which can put them at risk for various health issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, stroke, and heart disease. "Exercise, on the other hand, can help lessen your risk." Therefore, women with PCOS should consider exercising as part of their doctor's 'prescription.' Working out, in conjunction with a nutritious diet, can be so beneficial for PCOS symptoms that it may eventually allow you to reduce or discontinue the medication.
Other Benefits of Exercising for PCOS
Boosts Your Mood
PCOS frequently has a negative impact on an individual's mental well-being. Women who suffer from these hormonal imbalances are more susceptible to mental health problems such as depression. However, it is possible to positively impact one's mood by exercising for 30 minutes every day. It aids in the release of endorphins, which improve your mood and can assist you in managing negative thoughts.
Increases Fertility Rate
When you exercise, you can help alleviate your symptoms while also promoting good quality sleep and lowering your stress level, all of which can assist in boosting your chances of becoming pregnant. Indulging in any form of physical activity has been shown to reduce testosterone levels in the body, improve menstrual irregularity, and enhance the likelihood of becoming pregnant.
Women who have PCOS are more likely to suffer from difficulties such as sleeplessness. Create a daily fitness schedule that you can stick to. Exercise will allow you to sleep better and maintain a more balanced hormonal balance the following night.
PCOS can increase your risk of having high cholesterol, which increases your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Physical activity can help to alleviate some of the effects by reducing the LDL ('bad') cholesterol levels in the blood. The body requires higher HDL cholesterol to effectively eliminate LDL ('bad') cholesterol from the bloodstream. It may be beneficial to learn how to check your cholesterol levels to manage your PCOS better.
Which Exercises to Include?
It is particularly beneficial in reducing insulin resistance and boosting the rate of metabolism. Make sure that you incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen as part of your overall fitness routine. You can increase the function of insulin in your body by performing bodyweight activities such as squats, deadlifts, pushups and many more. It also has the added benefit of increasing your metabolism by increasing your muscle mass.
Try to incorporate light exercises into your routines, such as brisk walking, running, cycling, or swimming, to assist alleviate PCOS symptoms. These workouts improve your body's response to insulin, which lowers your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Every day, set aside 30 minutes for cardiac exercises. Your weight and mental health will almost certainly improve as a result of this approach.
According to recent research, Yoga may help women with PCOS manage their anxiety, ovulation, hormones, and metabolic factors - all of which are key in treating the condition. According to a study published in the International Journal of Yoga, twelve weeks of yoga practice considerably reduced symptoms of anxiety, which are all too frequent in adolescent girls with PCOS. In addition, yoga appears to have a beneficial influence on cholesterol and insulin levels in women with PCOS.
How to Incorporate?
All this discussion about exercising frequently may feel daunting if exercise hasn't been your thing in the past and you're not very active now. However, you are not required to follow all of the instructions at first to see the benefits. A little exercise is preferable to none; even a simple 10-minute walk will boost your overall happiness.
The official UK physical activity guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or brisk walking every week. They also recommend doing strength workouts that work all major muscles two or more times each week. Lifting weights, working with resistance bands, and exercising with your body weight, such as gardening and Yoga, are examples of this.
Finally, the more you enjoy the activity you perform, the more likely you will remain with it and experience the health benefits.
The Bottom Line
Exercising is proven to be a game-changer when it comes to relieving the symptoms of PCOS. Try to include the exercises mentioned above in your daily routine and support it by eating good clean food. Changing your lifestyle and being more active is a very step towards a life without PCOS.
Khademi, A., Alleyassin, A., Aghahosseini, M., Tabatabaeefar, L., & Amini, M. (2010). The Effect of Exercise in PCOS Women Who Exercise Regularly. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.5812/asjsm.34874
Marshall, J. C., & Dunaif, A. (2012). Should all women with PCOS be treated for insulin resistance? Fertility and Sterility, 97(1), 18–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.11.036
Harrison, C. L., Lombard, C. B., Moran, L. J., & Teede, H. J. (2010). Exercise therapy in polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review. Human Reproduction Update, 17(2), 171–183. https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmq045
Srikanthan, P., & Karlamangla, A. S. (2011). Relative Muscle Mass Is Inversely Associated with Insulin Resistance and Prediabetes. Findings from The Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 96(9), 2898–2903. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2011-0435