Exercise: A key part of managing your PCOS
Exercise is important for everyone but is particularly important if you have PCOS. Regular exercise will help you to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and also improves insulin resistance and reduces diabetes, heart disease and cancer risk.
Exercising regularly also lifts your mood, reduces anxiety and depression, increases strength and flexibility, improves fitness and gives you more energy to get through the day. Plenty of good reasons to get started!
What Should I Do and How Much?
- Ideally you should try to fit in some activity on most days. Research has shown that just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise can help improve your health, in particular reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes. This 30 minutes can even be broken down into 2 sessions of 15 minutes or 3 sessions of 10 minutes and you will still see benefits.
- For weight loss, however, it may be a different story, particularly for women. Some research suggests that many women need to exercise for up to an hour each day to assist with weight loss.
- While aerobic exercise is generally thought of as the most effective for ‘fat-burning’, combining aerobic exercise with resistance training may give you even better results.
- Including high intensity intervals in your exercise program can produce better results for fat loss and improving insulin resistance – this means building in short bursts of high intensity exercise throughout your workout
- Resistance training (also called strength training or weight training) helps to build muscle and increase your metabolism, assisting with weight loss. There’s also research to show the benefits of resistance training for improving insulin resistance, improving blood glucose levels in people with diabetes and reducing cardiovascular risk factors.
- A balanced exercise plan will include aerobic, resistance and flexibility/stretching exercises and is likely to get you the best results.
- Variety is important if you want to see results, as the body becomes efficient at anything it does repeatedly and after a while you stop seeing the results you initially got by doing what you are doing now.
If you have PCOS and need more help getting started with exercise, speak to your doctor about getting a referral to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who can help to develop an exercise program specific to your needs.