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The best forms of exercise for polycystic ovarian syndrome

One of the greatest, medically-recommended strategies to manage PCOS is through physical activity, such as aerobics, along with a healthy diet because it speeds up your metabolism and can therefore aid in weight loss. Picture from Pexels

One of the greatest, medically-recommended strategies to manage PCOS is through physical activity, such as aerobics, along with a healthy diet because it speeds up your metabolism and can therefore aid in weight loss. Picture from Pexels

Published Apr 11, 2023


Walking quickly, jogging, cycling, or swimming are all excellent exercises that can benefit those with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

By increasing your body's sensitivity to insulin, exercise lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and most of all, helps with pain management.

The Mayo Clinic describes PCOS as a hormonal issue that affects women during their fertile years. If you have PCOS, you might not have cycles very frequently or they might last a long time. A hormone called testosterone may be present in your body in excess.

"A large number of tiny fluid sacs grow along the ovary's outer border in people with PCOS. Cysts are what they are. In the tiny cysts packed with fluid are developing eggs. They are known as follicles. Dr. Marli Conradie, an expert in female reproductive medicine and endocrinology, claims that the follicles fail to regularly release eggs.

There is no recognized cause for PCOS. Losing weight and receiving early diagnosis and treatment may help to reduce the chance of developing long-term complications like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The best way to alter one's way of life and lessen the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome is to eat a balanced diet that supports healthy hormones. The second option is exercise.

According to a study by Healthline, women with PCOS have higher rates of insulin resistance than women without the condition. Your body's capacity to use blood sugar for energy is impacted by insulin resistance. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, doctors have linked a lack of exercise and excess body weight as possible causes of insulin resistance.

Not all PCOS sufferers are obese. The good news is that, regardless of weight, physical activity is something you can do for your health when you have PCOS.

One of the most crucial things you can do for your general health is to engage in regular physical activity, which has numerous beneficial impacts on the body. But Dr Conradie cautions that you must perform specific movements if you want to reduce the symptoms of PCOS.

There is no "right" or "wrong" way to perform workouts for PCOS, but some will benefit you more than others. So what types of activity are "best" and "worst" for PCOS?

Here are some fitness options to think about, as listed by Healthline:

Steady-state cardiovascular training sessions

If you are exercising moderately, your heart rate will likely be between 50 and 70 percent of its maximum during these exercises. Subtract your age from 220 to determine your maximum heart rate.

According to the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, this type of aerobic exercises can include walking, cycling, dancing, and aerobics classes.

HIIT Exercises

The goal of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is to balance short bursts of intense activity with rest periods. Burpees, tuck jumps, and mountain climbers are examples of typical HIIT workouts.

According to a 2016 study published in the journal Plos One and titled "Comparison of High-Intensity Interval Training and Moderate-to-Vigorous Continuous Training for Cardiometabolic Health and Exercise Enjoyment in Obese Young Women: A Randomised Controlled Trial," obese women reported more enjoyment from HIIT exercises than they did from continuous moderate to vigorous exercise. The ability to enjoy exercise is crucial for maintaining a habit over time.

Interval training

According to personal trainer Roy Davis, "Interval training is a way to exercise at different intensity levels, but not necessarily to the heart rate max you do with HIIT." To maintain your heart rate up during this type of training, various exercises are frequently performed in the same session.

Body-mind activities

According to a paper published in the journal Physical Exercise for Human Health, studies have demonstrated that women with PCOS have a more heightened bodily reaction to worry and distress.

Yoga, pilates, and tai chi are examples of mind-body exercises that can not only burn calories but also lower stress levels, which can exacerbate PCOS symptoms.

Lifting weights

In order to build muscle, strength training includes using weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight.

"This kind of exercise can aid in the development of strong bones and muscles. Gaining muscle mass may enable you to burn more calories while at rest and keep a healthy weight,“ says Davis.

You can perform a variety of exercises with little equipment and space by using the techniques described above.

Speak to your doctor and/or personal trainer if you are unsure of how to begin incorporating these adjustments into your diet. Your doctor might advise consulting a nutritionist to develop a diet plan especially for PCOS-affected women.

If you are experiencing the signs of this hormonal condition, regular exercise might seem impossible.

But there is unquestionable proof that one of the best ways to lessen PCOS symptoms and improve general wellness is with a smart, efficient PCOS exercise regimen.

Read the latest issue of IOL Health digital magazine here.