PCOS & PCOD
Updated on 15 September 2023
Avni had been putting on weight for a few years now, but she remained unaware as to what was contributing to her weight gain. However, her recent diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) put things in perspective. While the diagnosis wasn’t a pleasant one, it did explain the weight gain and other symptoms she had been noticing. This diagnosis also set her on the path to discover PCOS exercises to help manage her weight and overall health.
So, let us join Avni on her journey to sweating away PCOS with a powerful PCOS exercise plan wherein we will also explore the efficacy of exercising for PCOS weight management, some instructions and precautions to keep in mind and most importantly, the best exercises for PCOS.
Exercise has been shown to be an effective tool in managing PCOS symptoms. Regular physical activity can help improve insulin sensitivity and regulate hormone levels, which are key factors in managing PCOS.
Exercise also aids in weight management, as women with PCOS often struggle with weight gain. Additionally, it can boost mood and reduce stress, which are important for overall well-being. Women may also find it helpful to do exercise for PCOS to get period and manage their menstrual cycle.
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Developing a tailored exercise plan for PCOS is crucial to reap the maximum benefits. Here are some steps to help you get started:
Before starting any exercise regimen, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or a certified fitness trainer. They can assess your current health status and provide guidance on the most appropriate exercises for your specific condition.
Set realistic goals that are achievable and sustainable. Focus on improving overall fitness, managing weight, and reducing PCOS symptoms rather than aiming for drastic changes. Gradual progress is key to long-term success.
Incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine to target different muscle groups and keep your workouts interesting. This can include aerobic exercises like running or swimming, strength training exercises using weights or resistance bands, and flexibility exercises like Yoga or Pilates.
If you're new to exercise, start slow and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. This allows your body to adapt and reduces the risk of injury. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week, along with two or more days of strength training exercises.
Regularly monitor your progress and adjust your exercise plan as needed. Listen to your body and make modifications if you experience any discomfort or pain. Remember that everyone's journey is unique, so it is important to find what works best for you.
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When it comes to practising PCOS exercise at home, there are certain do's and don'ts to keep in mind. Following these guidelines can help you maximize the benefits and minimize any potential risks:
Opt for exercises that are gentle on your joints, such as swimming, cycling, or using an elliptical machine. These activities provide cardiovascular benefits without putting excessive stress on your body.
Building muscle mass through strength training exercises can help boost metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity. Include exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups in your routine.
PCOS is often associated with increased stress levels. Engaging in stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises can help balance hormones and improve overall well-being.
While high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be beneficial for many, it may not be suitable for everyone with PCOS. Intense workouts can lead to increased cortisol levels, which can further disrupt hormone balance. Listen to your body and opt for moderate-intensity exercises instead.
Rest and recovery are crucial for allowing your body to repair and adapt to exercise. Avoid overtraining and give yourself adequate rest days to prevent burnout and injuries.
Each individual's journey with PCOS is unique. Avoid comparing your progress to others and focus on your own goals and improvements. Celebrate small victories and stay motivated on your personal health journey.
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Now let us discover the most effective exercises for PCOS:
Engaging in aerobic exercises like brisk walking, jogging, or cycling helps improve cardiovascular health, burn calories, and manage weight. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity most days of the week.
Incorporating strength training exercises into your routine helps build lean muscle mass, increase metabolism, and improve insulin sensitivity. Include exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and bicep curls. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase as you get stronger.
Practicing yoga offers a holistic approach to managing PCOS by reducing stress levels, improving hormone balance, and increasing flexibility. Focus on poses that target the pelvic area, such as butterfly pose, cobra pose, and child's pose.
Pilates is a low-impact exercise that focuses on core strength, flexibility, and body awareness. It helps improve posture, strengthen abdominal muscles, and increase overall stability. Incorporate exercises like the hundred, roll-ups, and leg circles into your routine.
Swimming is a gentle, low-impact exercise that provides a full-body workout. It helps improve cardiovascular fitness, build strength, and burn calories. If you prefer a non-weight bearing exercise that is easy on the joints, swimming is an excellent option.
While exercise is generally beneficial for women with PCOS, there are certain exercises that may not be ideal for managing PCOS symptoms. These include:
Exercises like running on hard surfaces or jumping exercises can put excessive stress on the joints, potentially causing discomfort or injury. Opt for low-impact alternatives like swimming or cycling instead.
While cardio exercises are important for cardiovascular health, excessive cardio can lead to increased cortisol levels and potentially disrupt hormone balance. Aim for moderate-intensity cardio exercise for PCOS to get period rather than long, intense sessions.
Pushing your body beyond its limits by overtraining can lead to physical and mental exhaustion. This can negatively affect hormone balance and overall well-being. Allow your body enough time to rest and recover between workouts.
Focusing solely on isolation exercises, such as bicep curls or tricep kickbacks, may not provide the same overall benefits as compound exercises. Compound exercises, which involve multiple muscle groups, are more efficient and effective for managing PCOS.
Exercise alone is not enough to manage PCOS. It should be complemented by a balanced diet that supports hormone balance and overall health. Consult with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to develop a nutrition plan that aligns with your exercise routine.
Whether you choose to exercise at home or at the gym depends on personal preference, convenience, and access to equipment. Both options have their own benefits and drawbacks. Here are the key factors to consider:
Exercising at home can provide the following benefits in PCOS:
Exercising at home eliminates the need for travel and allows for flexible workout timings.
Setting up a basic home gym can be more cost-effective in the long run compared to gym memberships.
Some women may feel more comfortable exercising in the privacy of their own home, especially if they are self-conscious about their appearance or prefer a more personalized workout experience.
Exercising at the gym can provide the following benefits in PCOS:
Gyms offer a wide range of exercise equipment and facilities that may not be available at home, such as treadmills, weight machines, and group fitness classes.
The energy and atmosphere of a gym can be motivating for many individuals, as they are surrounded by like-minded individuals working towards their fitness goals.
Gyms often have certified trainers who can provide personalized guidance, create tailored workout plans, and ensure proper form and technique.
Ultimately, the choice between exercising at home or at the gym depends on individual preferences, goals, and access to resources. The most important factor is consistency and finding a routine that works for you.
While exercise alone cannot treat PCOS, it can be an important component of an overall treatment plan. Exercise, when combined with a healthy diet and other lifestyle changes, can help manage PCOS symptoms, improve insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss, and enhance overall well-being.
Walking is a simple yet effective form of exercise that can positively impact PCOS symptoms. Regular brisk walking can help improve cardiovascular health, promote weight loss, enhance insulin sensitivity, and reduce stress levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking most days of the week to experience the benefits.
Both the gym and yoga can be beneficial for managing PCOS, but they offer different advantages. The gym provides access to a wide range of equipment and facilities for strength training and cardiovascular workouts. On the other hand, yoga focuses on mindfulness, stress reduction, and flexibility. It can help balance hormones, improve posture, and promote relaxation.
In conclusion, exercise plays a crucial role in managing the symptoms of PCOS and improving the overall well-being of women affected by this condition. By engaging in regular PCOS exercise, women can experience a range of benefits, including weight management, hormonal balance, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced stress, and increased fertility. Remember, getting started on a fitness journey can be overwhelming, but with the right mindset, support, and guidance, it is possible to achieve a healthier and happier life with PCOS.
1. Patten RK, Boyle RA, Moholdt T, Kiel I, Hopkins WG, Harrison CL, Stepto NK. (2020). Exercise Interventions in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
2. Woodward A, Klonizakis M, Broom D. (2020). Exercise and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Adv Exp Med Biol.
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