Let’s be honest – exercise is just darn good. For physical wellbeing, yes, but also mental and emotional health, too. And, it’s thought to be one method of helping to manage symptoms of PCOS.
But, how does exercise help PCOS? And, what are the many benefits?
Read on to find out.
How does exercise help PCOS?
We probably don’t need to tell you that physical activity has myriad benefits for everybody (honestly, exercise is invaluable for health – it can lower your risk of early death by up to 30%, according to the NHS), but do you know how exercise can help with managing PCOS symptoms?
1. It can help to improve insulin sensitivity
65-70% of people with PCOS have insulin resistance. However, research suggests that regular physical activity reduces the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, making it an important tool for helping people with PCOS manage symptoms.
2. It could help to improve ovulation
More research is needed in this area, however, one study which attempted to explore the effects of exercise on people with PCOS found that participants experienced improved ovulation following a period of 12-24 weeks of regular physical activity. And the best bit? There appeared no connection between the type of exercise, duration, or frequency and the improvements.
3. It’s a mood-booster
Movement triggers the release of endorphins in the body – commonly known as feel-good hormones. They help to boost feelings of pleasure and happiness, and relieve feelings of stress and anxiety.
4. It can improve sleep quality
Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, are common in people with PCOS, but exercise is one way to increase your chances of getting a good quality kip.
Don’t exercise too close to bedtime though, this can have the opposite effect.
5. It can reduce your risk of developing serious illnesses
According to the NHS, people who exercise regularly have up to a 35% lower risk of developing heart disease and stroke, up to a 20% lower risk of developing breast cancer, and up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis. Consider us sold.
6. Which exercise is best for PCOS?
Honestly? The best type of exercise for people with PCOS is exercise that’s enjoyable. Seriously.
Research indicates that, contrary to popular belief, there isn’t any specific type of training that’s best suited to people with PCOS. What is advised, however, is engaging in an activity that you like enough to repeat consistently. Consistency is key when it comes to reaping the rewards of exercise.
Not sure where to start with exercising for PCOS? You could try:
• Steady-state cardio (cycling, jogging, walking, rowing).
• HIIT (short bursts of high intensity exercises – like squat jumps or sprints, for example – at max effort, followed by rest periods and then repeated).
• Strength training (using equipment, like kettlebells or dumbbells, or your body weight for resistance. Think: deadlifts, squats, push-ups).
• Yoga or pilates.