PCOS and Exercise – The Benefits | PCOS Diet Support

Posted: September 20, 2017 at 4:49 am

Weve heard over and over again that weight loss is important in managing PCOS and that diet and exercise are more effective than medications in improving your PCOS symptoms. Previously, weve focused a lot on the importance of diet and the kind of diet we should all be following.

But, we havent really tackled the topic of exercise and just about every day I get emails asking me about what exercise we should be doing and how much. So, I think its time to have a closer look at exercise and its importance in managing our symptoms.

My own relationship with exercise is a bit hit and miss. Before getting married, I went to the gym about 5 times a week, doing cardio and circuit training. I looked and felt great but my PCOS was undiagnosed and I didnt have many symptoms. It was also 7 years ago before I settled into married life and had a baby.Diet and exercise are more effective than medications in improving your PCOS symptoms

I have often said that if I understand why I need to do something, Im far more likely to actually do it. That is why I think we need to have a closer look at the benefits of exercise for women with PCOS. Lets have a look at what the research says.

Also, women with PCOS suffer from chronic inflammation (more on this is a future article because I think its a big one). But,regular exercise improves inflammation markers (2) which is hugely important because chronic inflammation is linked to insulin resistance. (3) Once again, this shows that exercise improves sensitivity to insulin.

Theres one final thing that I want to mention. A group of researchers looked at a number of studies and literature regarding exercise and PCOS. They considered 8 studies and found that most consistent improvements included improved ovulation, reduced IR (930%) and weight loss (4.510%). Improvements were not dependant on the type of exercise, frequency or length of exercise sessions. (4)

So basically were saying that even if you dont lose weight when exercising, you are still working on improving your:

Youll see in all of the research studies weve looked at, there is a common thread: insulin resistance. Lets have a look at why this is key with PCOS.

Researchers have found that insulin plays a key role in the development of PCOS, even if we are not insulin resistant. You see, insulin acts on our ovaries to stimulate the production of male hormones (testosterone). This happens in all women but our ovaries tend to be oversensitive to insulin, producing too much testosterone.

But wait, theres more. Insulin also acts to decrease the amount of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). Testosterone should bind to SHBG and not be free floating to cause havoc on our systems. If SHBG is low, there will be more free testosterone in our systems. (5)

And here is the kicker: testosterone causes most of our PCOS symptoms: increased hair growth, male pattern baldness, acne, irregular cycles. So, you can see that it is VITAL that we mange our insulin levels to manage our testosterone. Everything that I have mentioned on this site in terms of diet is aimed at managing insulin and testosterone through diet. Now you have another way of managing it through exercise.

So, weve said that exercise is really beneficial to managing our PCOS as it helps to manage insulin levels which in turn improves our testosterone and SHBG levels. I can already hear the question youre going to ask next: How much and what kind of exercise should we be doing? Thats too big a topic to tackle in this article so stay tuned for the follow up article on exercise!

Id love to hear your experiences of managing PCOS with exercise. Also, do you have any tips on how to stay motivated with exercise? Id love to hear them!

PCOS and Exercise - The Benefits | PCOS Diet Support

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