Women living with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance which causes significant weight gain and trouble losing weight. PCOS affects so many areas of life that it can be overwhelming and hard to know how to handle it, especially when it’s initially diagnosed. One thing that helps with both mental and physical health is exercise. Working the body increases your insulin sensitivity which helps fight the insulin resistance that PCOS causes. Exercise also releases endorphins that help lift your spirit and make you feel happier.
Each type of exercise that is listed below can be done at home, in a gym, or in a group fitness class. It all depends on your comfort level.
Some of the best exercises that help women with PCOS are:
Yoga strengthens your muscles by using the weight of your body. It increases endurance, enhances focus, and improves your balance. It can seem intimidating, especially for first-timers, but there are great videos all over the internet for yoga beginners. There are also exclusive yoga classes for beginners.
Walking on a treadmill
With a slight incline (or more), this is a great way to get the heart pumping and to burn off fat. Longer amounts of time spent on a treadmill are more likely to burn more fat and release more endorphins. The recommended amount of time to spend on a treadmill is 30-45 minutes. Less for beginners, more for experienced women.
Squats, lunges, and push-ups
Again, we are talking about moves that focus on using the body weight to train and strengthen muscles, make the body stronger and burn more fat.
Professional gym equipment
This is something you will need a gym membership for. The machines at the gyms are specifically made to strengthen different parts of your body using weights. This way, you can start small and build up the weight as you get stronger.
This is another group activity which is very different from yoga. Zumba focuses on having fun and dancing to loud and intoxicating music. The instructor of the class leads with choreographed dance movements that bring the heart rate up and burn fat. These classes are very popular because they are usually a good fit for someone who is starting out and wants to have fun while exercising.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
HIIT is a very popular exercise because of the fact that you can do 30 minutes of HIIT and your body will respond as if you did 75 minutes of moderate cardio. The way HIIT works is you alternate between high intensity and low intensity exercise. For example – switching back and forth between running for 1 minute and then slowing down to a fast walk for 2-3 minutes. HIIT is very effective because it takes your body to the heart rate where it can burn fat repeatedly.
Swimming is easier for someone who is struggling with pain in their joints or has difficulty standing up for an extended period of time. An hour of swimming can burn up to 750 calories while working major muscle groups. Swimming is also easier on the joints than dance classes and treadmills.
It is also important to note that an exercise plan should be paired with a healthy diet so that the body can recover from the workout and can continue to burn fat and build muscle.