Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition associated with weight gain, acne, infertility, and abnormal hair growth. It has become increasingly common in recent years affecting between 5 and 10 percent of women.
PCOS triggers the pituitary gland and ovaries to overproduce the hormone androgen; although the direct cause of this is unknown, it is thought that insulin resistance plays a major role. This is because many women that suffer from PCOS are also insulin resistant; this is when their body cannot use the hormone efficiently. So they have to produce it in greater amounts to get the job done, causing an increase of sugar getting transported into the cells even if it is not needed; this forces the excess sugar to become converted into fat and stored, as apposed to being excreted out of the body.
Keeping active is essential for everyone whether you have PCOS or not, as it helps to control blood pressure, blood sugar, manage weight, cholesterol levels and even prevent heart disease. If you do suffer from PCOS however, exercising should be at the top of your list because unfortunately, it places you at a greater risk of developing one of the aforementioned. And if you are currently having issues with your health, such as elevated insulin or cholesterol levels, exercise is a very effective way to improve these conditions and prevent them from getting worse.
Unfortunately one of the most common symptoms of PCOS is weight gain, but exercise can help combat this issue because working out is a great way to manage weight, and keep off the excess fat. Exercising doesn’t just help burn the fat; it can also help to increase insulin sensitivity, because as you exercise it allows the insulin to work more effectively in the body. While you are working-out, insulin transports the sugar into the muscles to use as energy, therefore lowering your blood sugar levels. So keeping active on a regular basis is essential for weight management, as it will prevent the excess blood sugar from storing in the body as fat.
Women with PCOS also tend to have elevated cholesterol levels; exercise is great at lowering cholesterol levels because exercising stimulates enzymes that transport the ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) from the blood to the liver to get excreted. Keeping our cholesterol levels low is very important because high cholesterol levels have been linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Trying to control body weight is a key issue for women with PCOS, although you may find that even though you have been exercising that it is difficult to lose weight. This is generally due to years of elevated insulin levels, but don’t let this dishearten you. Keeping active does help with weight loss, no matter how slow, but it also gives you a variety of other health benefits, like lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It can even help to increase fertility; studies have shown that those who exercise have improved fertility, higher ovulation rates and the weight loss even helps with regulating periods.
Although no specific guidelines for training have been designed for PCOS yet, because the symptoms are similar to that of type-2 diabetes, experts believe that the same protocols will work well for women who suffer from PCOS.
Government guidelines recommend 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day to help maintain weight or to lose weight 90 minutes of exercise a day is suggested, which of course can be completed in increments. Strength training is also essential and should be done 2-3 times a week on non-consecutive days, with exercises involving every major muscle group.
Even though you may not see the results you desire straight away, keeping up with an exercise routine is essential for general health and weight loss.
Become the face of fitness you’ve always wanted and make sure you are exercising to keep PCOS in check.