As stated in other posts, I enjoy exercising regularly. I love what it does for my mind and body.
I had been wondering if women with PCOS respond to exercise differently and if it helps treat our specific health problems. This led me to investigate this topic more.
In this post I will talk about what I found out!
What many women with PCOS struggle with
A PCOS diagnosis comes with health struggles. It is a chronic condition that women with it must be mindful of in order to have a good quality of life.
Weight and body fat level are two areas that a lot of us have problems with. We may have excess weight on us with a lot of fat in our upper body (mainly midsection). In most cases, it is insulin resistance that causes it.
To control our weight and fat, diet is paramount. This typically means that carbs (along with calorie counting) need to be watched to increase our sensitivity to insulin. Some women also find that intermittent fasting and supplements help them.
Exercise is also important as it is for anyone without this condition. Although diet comes first, getting some good movement in during the week can really help with having an overall healthy life.
How exercise specifically helps those with PCOS (according to research)
There were several great research articles I found on exercise and how it effects women that have a PCOS diagnosis. They further proved the point that physical activity is a must in people’s lives due to all the benefits it provides.
Testosterone levels in women with PCOS are sometimes considered too high. In a few studies, exercise reduced the high levels. Since having too much testosterone as a woman can cause various issues, adding in exercise could help to eradicate them.
The improvements of conditions associated with metabolic syndrome was noted in each study. This was the case even in the absence of weight loss. The positive changes were as follows:
- Lowered fasting glucose levels
- Waist circumference reduction
- Blood pressure reduction
- Increased insulin sensitivity
These results were seen with just aerobic activities or a combination of aerobic and strength.
The chances of successful ovulation increased with regular exercise in a couple of the studies. This was most likely due to the other health issues that that were addressed by engaging in physical activity. For example, treating insulin resistance has been shown to help with ovulation.
In some studies, there was greater muscle strength shown in the study participants with PCOS versus the ones without it. They were able to life a great deal more than the other participants.
In regards to helping with weight loss (along with a good diet), a couple of studies showed it didn’t add any benefit for the women with PCOS. For them, it was only diet that helped.
Every woman with PCOS has a different experience with the diagnosis. It is interesting to look around forums and blogs to read about them. Exercise is one of the topics that is talked about a lot on these sites.
These days more women are doing weightlifting because of the benefits that come with it. Some women with PCOS feel as though they will get bulky if they lift weights regularly. The reason they think this is because of the excess androgen levels a lot of us have.
The whole “getting bulky” thing is not true though. Being as though exercise helps treat insulin resistance (which can cause elevated testosterone levels), there is a good chance that women can lose some fat with weightlifting multiple times a week. This will make them look lean.
There have also been some women with PCOS saying that they seem to get stronger quicker than women without it. They said that they were able to progress with the amount of weight lifted at a faster pace than others even though they started their strength routines at the same time.
When it comes to me, I can get fast results (muscle definition, lean appearance) from exercising regularly. This is true even with not watching my calorie and carb intake very much. This has just been my experience though and I am not trying to brag at all.
Exercise is an important part of life
To have a good quality of life, exercise should be part of it in addition to a healthy diet. There are great benefits to be had for everyone.
It is safe to say that women with PCOS might see a reduction in their symptoms when combining regular physical activity with the appropriate daily food choices. The evidence (scientific and anecdotal), clearly shows the healthy, PCOS-specific effects that we get from it.
Do you have PCOS? If so, how has exercise helped your symptoms?
Thanks for reading!
#health #fitness #weightloss #weightlifting #diet #pcosawareness #pcos #womenshealth