Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal change that affects every second woman of childbearing age. So in your routine life, you will come across someone or other facing the PCOD problem. And, managing PCOS involves several lifestyle changes- mainly diet & exercise are the important ones.
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that can lead to a wide range of symptoms such as facial hair growth, irregular periods, hair loss, acne issues, all of these can make you feel unwell and depressed.
There is a lot of confusion among women about exercises for PCOS so we thought to compile everything in one place. Weight gain in PCOS is mainly in and around your waist area (it is called central obesity) and is the toughest weight to lose. It is also referred to as visceral fat because it mainly accumulates around our organs like the liver, heart, and reproductive organs making it difficult to conceive. It is important to know the right kind of workout and also to find what works for you. So exercise is important for every woman with polycystic ovaries.
Truhap is a positive psychology and child development center. Our team of some of the best Psychologists in Hyderabad can help women deal with mental health issues they might face due to PCOS.
Importance of Exercising in PCOS Hormonal Imbalance
There are many reasons why exercising for PCOS is helpful. The first & foremost reason for PCOS exercise is insulin resistance, a situation in which the cells in your liver, fat, muscles don’t respond well to insulin and can’t form glucose or sugar from your blood. Insulin resistance can cause diabetes and prediabetes over time.
When the insulin levels are balanced it will help to reduce your testosterone levels which is generally high in women with PCOD. Exercising regularly has helped to control testosterone-related issues like hair loss, acne, and unwanted hair growth on your face. Many women with PCOS hormonal imbalance struggle with obesity. This increases the risk of other health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, insomnia, stroke, and heart disease. Exercise helps to lower your risk and helps to balance hormonal changes.
Exercising on daily basis has incredible benefits for women with PCOS:
- Lowers Cholesterol
- Better Sleep
- Lowers Your Risk for Heart Disease
- Weight Loss
- Regulates Hormones
List of Exercise You can do in PCOS
A regular workout helps to build your self-esteem and also balances your depression and anxiety levels.
Below listed are some of the best exercises for PCOS which can help you to bring a change.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- Cardio for PCOS
- Strength Training
- Low impact steady-state workout
- Yoga for PCOS
- Mind-body exercises
1) High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
HIIT workout has been a very popular form of workout among athletes from very old times, it is now when fitness is a million-dollar industry, HIIT is accessible to the general population, and also because of the better availability of the information people are starting to pick up HIIT.
In an understandable term, HIIT is a form of extremely vigorous exercise followed by a short interval or break and then going again. Research shows it’s better to boost your metabolism and the process of burning calories continues for 24-48 hours’ post-workout. Women with PCOS need to practice an intense form of exercise 2-4 times a week. This improves insulin resistance overall which is the main underlying problem. High-Intensity Interval Training is also beneficial if you are trying to lose weight in PCOS as it is the ultimate way to burn calories.
Why HIIT for PCOS?
Practicing HIIT workouts for PCOS regularly can help to reduce the BMI of women with PCOS. HIIT fights PCOS belly fat, supports PCOS weight loss, helps to reduce the risk of heart diseases, and helps with insulin resistance.
How to do HIIT?
HIIT is a safe and effective workout. You can do it three times per week, no need to do this type of exercise every day. We might think how many calories does HIIT burn! HIIT can burn 450 calories per 30 minutes, and HIIT exercise requires a high level of strength. The intensity of the exercise can last from 10-15 seconds to few minutes.
Where to do HIIT?
HIIT exercise can be practiced indoors at your home or even outdoors in parks or gyms. Practice HIIT cardio on regular basis, that is, include this workout 2-3 times a week.
Benefits of Doing HIIT in PCOS
There are many benefits of HIIT exercise like:
- HIIT helps to decrease your insulin resistance
- HIIT helps with weight loss
- HIIT helps with balancing the hormones
- HIIT is effective in reducing metabolic syndrome
2) Cardio for PCOS
Cardiovascular conditioning or training is a type of aerobic exercise. In this type of exercise, the body uses oxygen to charge up your muscles. The types of cardio that can be practiced are cycling, swimming, walking, or jogging that can help with curing PCOS. Cardio exercises help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Why Cardio for PCOS?
Practicing cardio exercises such as jogging, cycling, swimming, or walking is best for reducing insulin sensitivity, risk of heart-related diseases, and type-2 diabetes. Cardio and PCOS go together, practicing cardio exercises regularly can help with weight loss, balancing the symptoms of anxiety and diabetes, and can also help with irregular periods and ovulation.
How to do Cardio?
You do not need to invest in equipment for cardio exercises. One can easily engage in cardio training at home. You can choose the exercises as per your fitness level. The best cardio to be practiced anywhere are jumping jacks, arm circle, squat jumps, skipping, lunges, climbing stairs, mountain climbers, burpees, inchworm, and so on. You can enjoy these exercises 2-3 times a week.
Where to do Cardio?
Many of us might wonder about how to do cardio at home? But the above-mentioned exercises do not require much space and can be performed at home, public parks, or gym.
Benefits of Doing Cardio in PCOS
The benefits of cardio are:
- Lowers cholesterol
- Promotes better sleep
- Reduces depression & anxiety levels
- Manages your stress levels
- Helps with weight loss
- Helps with hormonal imbalance issue
3) Strength Training
Strength training is equally important for anyone suffering from PCOS. It’s a wrong notion that people have – that doing weights can promote muscular strength or make you gain weight! No, strength training exercises are important to keep in check your stamina/endurance, something truly important in any metabolic condition. Probably more important than cardio. So please do not skip weight training, mixing weight with cardio can help you beat boredom and stick to your exercise routine. The different types of strength training exercises are Agile strength, Endurance strength, Explosive strength, Maximum strength, and Speed strength.
Why Strength Training for PCOS?
Spending excess time on the internet and researching how PCOS weight training is helpful will surely give conflicting results. Few sites will say strength training will make you look bulky or worsen your situation while some will give positive reviews. To give a full stop to this discussion, without any doubt it can be said the strength training goes well with PCOS. It can help to speed your metabolism level, lowers insulin resistance, and much more.
How to do Strength Training?
You may have a question on how to start lifting weights for females? So before starting weight lifting training consult a gym trainer and start with 1-2 sessions per week. Also, give 48 hours of gap between sessions. Slowly and gradually increase the duration every week and prepare a weekly schedule.
Where to do Strength Training?
Doubt how to do strength training at home?
- Start the session with a warm-up session
- Practice with lighter weights initially and gradually increase your weights
- Take at least 60 seconds to break in between exercises
- Stretch your muscles after a workout
- Start with 30 minutes of exercising
- And take 1-2 days’ break
Benefits of Doing Strength Training in PCOS
- Helps with weight loss
- Helps to improve mood
- Helps with muscular strength and endurance
- Lowers cholesterol levels and blood glucose levels
- Helps with bone-building
- Lowers androgens
4) Low impact steady-state workout
HIIT is even more effective when combined with low impact steady-state cardio or LISS Cardio. Don’t worry, it’s just a fancy name for basically anything doable but a longer period. Like playing baseball or skipping rope to simply move in a steady state. LISS is important because it helps you to regain strength and helps you stretch when not vigorously working out. A low-intensity steady state is more important if you are looking to build a habit to work out because it is less tiring, chances are you will stick to it better.
Also, there are no breaks in between, once you start LISS, you need to keep moving for at least 45 minutes, unlike HIIT.
Why Low impact steady-state workout for PCOS?
A low-intensity steady state could be as simple as running on a treadmill to jogging outside. There have been tons of results on which is better, for PCOS, it’s important to combine HIIT & LISS cardio not only for weight loss but for you to manage your weight as well.
How to do Low impact steady-state workout?
Low impact cardio is a kind of aerobic exercise practiced at a lower-medium pace for a longer period. Low impact workout is easy, safe, and helpful for all fitness levels. One can practice for 45-60 minutes for at least 4-5 weeks. Brisk walking or working on home cardio equipment such as treadmill, exercise bike, or so are good options.
Where to do Low impact steady-state workout?
LISS workout can be practiced anywhere, at home, in public parks, or any outdoor space. The types of easy LISS workouts are cycling, swimming, running, and brisk walking.
Benefits of Doing LISS workout in PCOS
There are many benefits of LISS of PCOS are as below:
- Helps with fat loss and fat burning
- Anyone can practice this type of exercise
- Keeps your body active
- Helps to balance androgen levels
- Promotes good mood and good sleep
5) Yoga for PCOS
Yoga is the most beneficial form of exercise to pick up for PCOS. Yoga for PCOS specifically helps with hormonal imbalance and is very effective in controlling mood swings. Yoga asanas help to give relaxation and open the pelvic area, also helps to keep the mind and body calm.
There are different types of yoga such as butterfly pose, Supta Badhakonasana, Shavasana, Padma Sadhana, all abdomen-related poses, and hatha yoga helps to cure PCOS.
You can watch and follow yoga with Adriene to maintain a daily yoga regime.
Why Yoga for PCOS?
Yoga is one of the great options to treat PCOS and promote a healthy way of living for women. It is noticed that yoga for PCOS can help to reduce stress levels, open the pelvic area, gives relaxation to the body and mind. If you practice PCOS yoga poses regularly, it will help to detoxify the body, manage depression and anxiety levels, and helps to manage weight.
How to do Yoga?
It is very easy to practice yoga at home especially if you are a beginner. Yoga can be practiced by anyone, young or old, trained or just a beginner, you don’t need to be a yogini to practice yoga asanas. To start with a perfect yoga regime, you can begin with breathing exercises. You can also search on the internet about how to do pranayama. Slowly and gradually you will become a pro with yoga poses.
Where to do Yoga?
You don’t have to join a gym or yoga class to start your fitness journey. You can practice yoga at home, in outdoor spaces, or in parks.
It is recommended to practice 30-45 minutes of mindful yoga at least 2-3 times a week.
Benefits of Doing Yoga in PCOS
There are many benefits of yoga if you are suffering from the issue of PCOS such as:
- Helps to improve flexibility, balance, and strength
- Helps with hormonal imbalance
- Improves metabolism
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Helps with weight management
It’s ok not to practice yoga poses every day. You can only do 20-25 sun salutations every day. There are many benefits of Surya namaskar like weight loss, glows your skin, helps with digestion, helps detoxification, and so on.
6) Mind-body exercises
Mind-body exercises are a combination of breathing exercises, mental exercises, and body movement and help to improve your health, balance, strength, and flexibility. Exercises that focus more on mind and body rather than physical activity can be more helpful for PCOS. The best mind-body exercises for PCOS are yoga, gardening, bush-walking, swimming, cycling, Tai Chi, tennis, running, and resistance training.
Why Mind-body exercises for PCOS?
PCOS causes hormonal imbalance, anxiety issues, depression problems, obesity, and many more such unwanted problems in women. Practicing mind-body exercises for PCOS can help to balance all these issues and promote healthy living.
How to do Mind-body exercises?
You can easily start practicing mind-body exercises at home. Start with deep breathes and inhale slowly, let go of your stress and tension, slowly rotate your neck and shoulders, close your eyes and recall beautiful memories, and much more. This will help a lot to recover from PCOS.
Where to do Mind-body exercises?
You can practice mind-body exercise at your home, at your terrace or balcony, garden, or outdoor spaces.
Benefits of Doing Mind-body exercises in PCOS
There are many benefits of mind-body exercises for PCOS:
- Improves sleep quality
- Helps with irregular periods
- Reduces pain and anxiety
- Helps to build up immunity
- Helps with weight management
- And, also helps with hormonal issues
Truhap is the best mental health organisation based in Hyderabad and provides therapy and treatments to help you with your mental health issues. Today many women are going through depression, anxiety, and sleep disorder issues. At Truhap we will assess, advise, and guide you to cater to your individual needs and promote healthy mental well-being. You can Contact Us or book your appointment for a session with our expert psychologists.