How To Exercise Right In Order To Deal With PCOS

Healthy women “move it” every day.  And, healthy women with PCOS “move it” even better.

It really requires guts and spirit to lift yourself up after being diagnosed with PCOS.

The hormonal disorder PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome occurs when your hormones are out of balance and it can lead to problems in your menstrual cycle and fertility, apart from causing obstinate weight gain and cysts on the ovaries.

What is also really disheartening is that more often than not  you are told straight after a diagnosis that there is precious little you can do about your PCOS other than take birth control pills and that your chances of a pregnancy are slim to none.

But, give us a listen- There are many benefits of working with your body instead of controlling it with birth control pills for getting rid of PCOS symptoms.

Countless women have used ‘food’ medicine and exercise to trump PCOS, so why can’t you? Healthy, cyst-less ovaries are just some hard work and motivation away.

The thing to do first to beat PCOS is to follow a clean eating plan. This includes whole foods which in common-speak are foods eaten straight in the form that they are sourced from the earth and have not been altered chemically in any way, and including foods rich in minerals and vitamins into your diet.

Once your body has used the key nutrients from this well- rounded, nourishing diet to produce more blood, you can work on a well- planned exercise regimen which will improve your circulation by incorporating low-intensity exercises like walking, yoga, and strength training to get you off the blood-sugar roller coaster.  

Exercise is perhaps the best way to help your body become more insulin- sensitive, which is the most important way to manage PCOS.

Read more about insulin sensitivity and its link with PCOS here


Exercise for getting rid of PCOS symptoms

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is your body's way of saying you can't handle high sugar levels.

Exercise is an excellent insulin sensitizer. It signals muscles to use more glucose from the blood.

And this is the first notch on the bedpost, so to speak.

In the beginning stage, you have to take small steps- you can start with some walking and generally being more active in your daily life- just moving about instead of lying on the couch watching TV....and digging in there with a regular training schedule.

Countless studies have shown that even gentle movement like just a five-minute walk after eating helps move the glucose from your meal into your cells more efficiently.

We totally recommend doing short activities throughout the day after eating, since they can be extremely effective for managing your insulin insensitivity and PCOS, both.

The second stage of your exercise plan- Increase your muscle mass  

Strength training with weights totally works for women with PCOS. After achieving the first goal of managing your insulin- resistance, your second goal is to increase your muscle mass with the help of progressive strength training to manage glucose better.

Most trainers worldwide use a mix of weight training with HIIT or High-intensity interval training and LISS or Low-intensity steady state cardio, like walking to reap huge benefits.


How does weight training help in PCOS?

  • PCOS is not so much about malfunctioning ovaries as it’s about your insulin resistance and strength training reduces your insulin resistance.

    As strength training increases the size of your muscle, it increases its capacity to take in glucose, increasing insulin sensitivity.

  • Strength training does the best job of fighting belly fat than any other form of exercise available on the planet.

    Excess belly fat puts you at risk for PCOS complications like high cholesterol and metabolic syndrome which causes heart problems.

  • Building more muscle will help you lose weight.  Muscle actually burns calories in order to sustain itself so the more muscle you gain, the more calories you will burn daily, thus making it easier for you to lose weight and keep it off.

  • PCOS and high LDL or bad cholesterol are a package. Strength training helps get rid of high LDL in women.

Doing lots of cardio workouts in the gym are not that great if you want to control your PCOS. What you should aim for instead is 2-3 weight training sessions a week for around 45-60 minutes, along with low-intensity cardio activity like swimming, walking or yoga.

But do make sure whatever exercise you're doing is not too stressful on your body, as over-exercising is not good for your hormonal balance, either.

Yoga is also one of the best ways of exercising for controlling PCOS.

Why we are saying this is because yoga works best on stress levels and improves your body’s cortisol response.

Yoga and PCOS are also a perfect combination because holding weight-bearing poses build muscle just like strength training does.  This increased muscle mass helps to combat insulin resistance...

An active yoga practice can also increase heart rate, providing a cardiovascular workout, leading to weight loss.

And lastly, a couple of asanas like Trikonasana promote hormonal balance and deep relaxation.

A strong body is a formidable opponent in the fight against PCOS. To prevent injuries always strength train under the supervision of a certified personal trainer, at least for a few sessions.

Your trainer will be able to assess your current level of fitness and design a strength training routine that will help you the most and prevent exercise- related injuries.

About the Author

Shikha Gandhi

Shikha Gandhi is a health journalist and a short film maker. She is also a certified Pranic healer and a lover of long walks.