PCOS treatment: 6 Simple Exercises for PCOS

When it comes to managing PCOS, the two main factors that should be concentrated are- Diet and Exercises for PCOS. Often many people do all the necessary things required for their diet and neglect the exercise part of their lifestyle. But the thing is that there are no bad exercises. The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen. 

 

An article published by Oxford Academic in the year 2011, says that there is no dependency of the improvements in PCOS on the type of exercise, frequency or length of the exercise sessions. . Exercise for PCOS not only helps in weight management, but can also brighten up our moods and help with other symptoms of PCOS. It doesn’t always need to be heavy or intense workouts. A simple change such as taking the stairs or walking to your office can make a huge difference in your exercise regime.

 

How does Exercise affect PCOS?

person's left hand wrapped by tape measure

PCOS, as its name suggests, includes various symptoms. It is not confined to one particular disease. Most of these symptoms can be blamed upon Insulin resistance. If insulin resistance is managed, then the hormonal imbalances and excess weight gain can also be controlled.

 

When a woman with PCOS exercises, it helps her to manage the insulin and glucose levels in her body. The continuous movement in our body helps it to move glucose. This process takes the glucose from our blood and spreads it to other parts of our body. This reduces the load of glucose management from insulin, thus increasing our body’s sensitivity towards it.

 

How much and How often to Exercise for PCOS?

person wearing orange and gray Nike shoes walking on gray concrete stairs

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends a weekly exercise of 150 minutes can do the trick. This is when you are doing moderate exercises such as brisk walking, hiking, sports etc.  However, if you are aiming for intense workouts, then 75 minutes per week is sufficient.

 

It further says that the combination of moderate and vigorous activities, spread throughout the week can also be beneficial. Further, it can be increased with time as one gets used to it.

 

It must be noted here that no exercise should stress you out. When stress happens, our body releases cortisol, which further stimulates androgens. So, if you are already stressed out from the day, skip workouts that day.It is you that matters. Listen to your body. If you body says no, don’t pressurize it.

 

Exercises for PCOS

Get a Fun start:

women dancing near mirror

If you are just beginning with the exercises, try not to exert your body. Give it a fun start. Go  for a simple walk or in the morning. Zumba and aerobic classes are also fun ways to get into exercising. Choose exercises for PCOS that make you happy and do not stress you much. Get yourself a workout buddy and enjoy it to full extent.

Cardio:

woman jogging near wire fence

Cardio is the simplest thing that you can do. Go for a morning stride, listen to some great music and lighten yourselves up while exercising. Doing this 30 minutes a day can help with PCOS by managing weight and helping with depression and anxiety. Cardio can also help with regulating menstrual flow and can manage your ovulation. Try taking breaks and make it easier by changing the pace frequently. For example, try 10 minutes of brisk walking followed by 10 minutes of jogging. This can amp up your cardio game and encourage you to continue it for a long time.

Water Exercises:

woman floating on body of water

Water sports such as swimming and water aerobics can be a fun way to do exercises. These are resistance exercises and do the  whole body workout. Try to push yourself to achieve longer laps while swimming. Enjoy yourselves in the pool and have a great workout.

 

Strength training:

woman pushing bars

Strength training is a great way for reducing Insulin resistance and boosting metabolism. Exercises such as squats, push-ups and tricep dips can increase the flow of glucose to other parts of our body. Thus reducing the work of Insulin. Try to combine these exercises with cardio. Both balances your whole workouts and helps in reducing various symptoms of  PCOS.

 

Take up a Sport:

pair of red badminton rackets

If you are not a big exercise person, make exercising your own. Choose a sport for yourself and practice it regularly. It can be anything, even a daily game of badminton in your courtyard can be a game changer (pun intended ;D). Basketball, tennis, cricket or even kabaddi can help you to take the stress out and refresh your body.

 

Meditation and Yoga:

person doing yoga on floor

If you reduce stress in your body, then the release of androgen is reduced to a large extent. And nothing soothes you more than a perfect balance of meditation and yoga. Include the following aasanas in your exercise regime:

  1. Butterfly Pose
  2. Supta Badhakonasana
  3. Bharadvajasana
  4. Chakki Chalanasana
  5. Shavasana
  6. Padma Sadhana
  7. Sun Salutation

Remember to relax while doing these poses. The main aim to decrease PCOS symptoms is to reduce your stress. Co-ordinate you breathing along with the aasanas to ensure best results.

Pre and Post Workout Meals

You take out time to hit the gym regularly from your busy schedule, You pack your gym bag, you make sure your gym outfit is comfortable, you buy right kind of shoes too but….

Is all that enough??

You must have seen many people doing workouts daily and taking a low-calorie diet too and still don’t reduce their weight. The reason could be as simple as they are not having their pre and post-workout meals or if they are taking, it’s not at the right time or not the right food!

Just like how your phone or laptop needs a charge, your body also needs fuel before starting that aggressive workout.

Pre-workout Meal

Why: By eating a pre-workout snack, we’re going to reduce muscle glycogen depletion.

What does this mean?

During exercise, the body converts glycogen into glucose which plays an important role in contracting muscles. This is where CARBS comes into play. We have to replenish Glycogen stores so they don’t run out.

When you are doing workouts at the gym you need to fuel up your body, as your body needs the energy to carry out that heavy workout. If you are doing a workout empty stomach, it will increase muscle protein breakdown, which means in simple words that your body will start eating up your muscles for energy purposes. If you are looking for muscle growth then that can only happen if the production of protein increases protein breakdown… this is where PROTEIN comes into play.

What: So now it’s pretty obvious what we’re supposed to be eating a combination of Proteins and carbs before our workout to protect our body to go in “catabolic” state. Now you may wonder as they say that carbs make you gain weight…..STOP. There are two types of carbs, simple and complex that you require at different time and for different purposes.

Nutrient-rich examples of pre-workout meals include:

  • Oatmeal with berries, a few nuts, low-fat Greek yogurt and water
  • Grilled chicken, egg whites, brown rice, green beans, and unsweetened-tea
  • Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole-wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, and avocado, sweet potato or fruit and water

When: As we discussed earlier timing is important, try to eat your pre-workout snack 30-60 minutes before your workout. If you work out early in the morning and don’t have time to eat hours before, try a granola bar, banana or even dry cereal or crackers 15-30 minutes before you get moving.

If the workout will be intense or extra long, pump the snack up to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, protein bar or even a smoothie with whey protein, fruit, and water.

Post-workout Meal

Why: After a workout, your body is in the “Anabolic/Building” stage when your muscles are “recovering” and “replenishing”. If you don’t feed your body it’s going to start eating the protein/muscle in your body… and that will be the last thing that you want to happen.

Post-workout snack also allows you to gain more lean muscle, which leads to better metabolism and fat burning ability as well as faster recovery, with comparatively less soreness and future performance.

Therefore, try consuming the two macros in a ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein).

 

What: Supply your muscles with carbohydrates to replace whatever glycogen was wasted off in exercise. Simple carbohydrates are ideal immediately post-workout because they break down quickly, such as fruits.

Consuming an adequate amount of protein after a workout gives your body the amino acids it needs to repair and rebuild these proteins.

Consuming 1.1–1.5 grams/kg of body weight within 30-45 minutes after training results in proper glycogen resynthesis

Furthermore, insulin secretion, which promotes glycogen synthesis, is better stimulated when carbs and protein are consumed at the same time

Exercise can cause muscle breakdown and high-quality protein, like milk, yogurt, eggs, cheese, and lean meats can help rebuild and repair muscle fibers.

Whey protein is a good choice after a workout as your body can digest it quickly and it contains the highest content of leucine, an amino acid that has been shown to help build and repair muscles after a workout.

Also, don’t forget to rehydrate yourself with fluid and electrolytes you sweated out during exercise.

Carbs: Include things like sweet potatoes, milk, brown rice, fruits, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, Dark leafy vegetables.

Protein: Animal or plant-based protein, Eggs, Greek yogurt, Cottage cheese (paneer), Salmon, chicken, protein bar, tuna, sprouted legumes, nuts, nut butter, avocado.

When: Although the timing does not need to be exact, try to eat within 45 minutes of doing a workout. The more you will delay having your post-workout meal the slower the rate will be for glycogen synthesis. For example, as little as two hours after a workout may lead to as much as 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis.

online fitness classes