Exercises To Manage Your PCOS
- PCOS is hard to cope with but can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication.
- Here are some exercises that can provide relief if you have PCOS.
- Exercises that balance the body and the mind - like yoga, Pilates and tai-chi are great for PCOS.
For those who do not know, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a condition that is most likely caused due to a hormonal imbalance in women of childbearing age. Up to 20% of women worldwide are affected by this condition and have an irregular menstrual cycle. Besides this, severe acne problems, hair loss, disturbed sleep, and enlarged ovaries are some PCOS symptoms. However, all this is just the tip of the iceberg.
If left alone, further complications such as diabetes, infertility, sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome, etc. may creep up on you. Most women who suffer from this condition also struggle with obesity. Obesity worsens your complications. Now, if you are wondering on what is the diet and lifestyle to be followed for PCOS; and what would be a good workout routine for PCOS, then get ready to learn all about how to manage your weight while battling PCOS.
Current treatment regimens involve a change in lifestyle along with your medications. Weight loss with the help of diet and exercises for PCOS has been shown to improve PCOS symptoms, along with the efficacy of your medicines.
Here are 5 PCOS friendly workouts that can provide long-term benefits, along with valuable PCOS exercise tips.
1. Start your day with yoga
Starting your day with a good 30 minutes session of yoga will not only help keep your health in check but will also help with weight management and PCOS.
Research suggests that yoga is the best exercise for PCOS sufferers; it can reduce the risk of PCOS and improve the quality of life in women suffering from it. It is a moderate intensity exercise that is highly beneficial for PCOS and PCOD.
What are the best asanas for PCOS and PCOD, you may ask? Here are 5 yoga poses you can try!
2. Go for strength training
If you're wondering how can I lose weight with PCOS without exercising? Then you need to rethink your thoughts. Exercise is key and drawing up a workout routine for PCOS is extremely important. If you need motivation to start exercising, you can look for some tips here in 10 easy tips to get yourself to exercise. Strength training doesn't necessarily mean lifting heavy weights; it can be accomplished by using resistance bands and even your body weight.
Increased energy, metabolism, insulin sensitivity, and better mood are just some of the benefits of strength training. Here are a few resistance band and body weight exercises you can try to better manage your weight:
3. Plain old squats
Squats burn calories, burn some fat, gain some muscle. This exercise is very simple to perform, but most people don't have the correct form. A proper form is key to activating your glutes and avoiding any other injury.
Here is how you do it:
- Start with your feet shoulder-width apart
- Turn your feet slightly outward
- Go down as if you were to sit down on a chair
- Lower your body till your thighs are parallel to the ground
- Hold the position for a second and get back up
- Make sure your foot is on the floor at all times and your knee doesn't go beyond the toes
When done properly, you'll feel the burn in the back of your thighs and your buttocks.
4. Mountain climbers
For those who do not know, mountain climbers is a combination of strength and cardio training. A 30-sec full-intensity workout will leave you gasping for breath and help in reducing body fat. It is brutal but equally rewarding as it can help build muscle mass as well.
Here's how you perform one:
- Get into a plank position (Hands below the shoulders and shoulder-width apart with the torso parallel to the ground)
- Start with right leg
- Pull your right knee toward your chest, as far as you can
- Do the same thing with your left leg
- Repeat the process as fast as you can for 30 secs
Try doing 5 sets of these every other day. This exercise will help you to lose fat and improve your circulation.
Once you find these exercises easy you can make them harder by adding resistance bands and weights.
Tai Chi for the body and mind
We've often heard that health is a state of complete harmony between mind, body, and spirit. Here's an exercise that helps heal your mind as well as your body.
Tai Chi, a moderately intense exercise, that was practiced in ancient China has numerous health benefits. Research suggests that practicing Tai chi proved beneficial in remedying conditions like diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity.
Tai chi exercises are slow, easy to perform movements that focus on correct form and breathing. Tai chi is easy on the joints and muscles, making it an appropriate exercise for all age groups. It is best to hire a qualified instructor to train you with the basics and correct form. Include tai chi in your exercise regime for better health.
Kick PCOS away with Pilates
Pilates is a great way to have fun and lose some inches at the same time. These exercises focus on building your muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. Here are some PCOS friendly workouts that you can try out at home:
1. The Pilates Curl
The Pilates curl is a great way to build up your core strength and improve your balance. All you require is a mat to perform this exercise.
Here is how you do it:
- Lie on your back, feet flat on the mat and arms by your side
- Lift your chin towards your chest
- Exhale as you do so
- Hold your breath for a minute
- Go back to the starting position
Done properly, this exercise will engage your core muscles.
2. Single leg stretches
This easy to perform exercise will help increase your muscle strength and is guaranteed to work up a nice sweat.
Here is how to do it:
- Lie down on your back with your hands and legs stretched out
- Lift your legs at a 45-degree angle such that the shin is parallel to the ground
- Bring your right knee towards your chest, hold it for 1 second
- Repeat the same for the left leg
Remember, while performing this exercise try not to touch your other leg to the ground. This pilates exercise works on your abs, quads (thigh muscles), and calf muscles.
Say yes to sports!
Many women find their fitness calling in sports activities. If yoga or gym work does not seem appealing to you, then you may find these activities more enjoyable.
Sports like badminton, swimming, cycling are great exercises for weight loss and improving your overall health. Furthermore, such activities double as great stress-busters.
Try your hand at the following activities to kick away your PCOS:
- Badminton: No, we aren't talking about garden badminton that many play leisurely. Proper badminton training involves a lot of jumping, lunging, and running. This sport requires a lot of strength and stamina and is a guaranteed fat burner.
- Swimming: We all know swimming is a very calorie demanding sport. It is a good way to shed some weight and have fun at the same time. If you are doing laps, try and set distance and time goals for your laps.
- Cycling: Cycling is a great outdoor activity for weight loss and helps get your blood pumping. Cycling also helps improve metabolism and heart health which in turn help in the fight against PCOS. Set a certain amount of time and distance to be cycled each day. This will help you stay motivated. Also, try to take new routes every day to break the monotony.
Combating PCOS requires a great amount of patience and it can take a toll on your body and your mind. The main thing to remember is making movement an important part of your lifestyle, and use the benefits of exercise to your advantage. If you are thinking: can walking reduce PCOS? Then know that performing brisk walking, strength training and other exercises for around 30 minutes are a good way to tackle high blood pressure, weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
Such lifestyle changes go a long way in the managing your PCOS condition. However, one must be cautious too. Some of these exercises are of high intensity, and it is important to know your limits. We hope that this article has motivated you to put on your workout shoes and kick your PCOS away!
To know more about exercises that can benefit period health, click here.
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- Deswal R et al. The prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome: a brief systematic review. Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences. 2020 Oct;13(4):261.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353443
- Li Y et al. Tai chi for overweight/obese adolescent and young women with polycystic ovary syndrome: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials. 2018 Dec;19(1):1-6.
- Tai Chi: A gentle way to fight stress. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/tai-chi/art-20045184
- Pericleous P et al. Can resistance training improve the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome?. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine. 2018 Aug 1;4(1):e000372