Physical exercise is one of the best ways to manage PCOS, not just from a weight-loss perspective but to control your insulin resistance, which affects as many as 70% of women with PCOS.
When it comes to exercises for PCOS, it's important to note that there aren't strict categories of "right" and "wrong." However, there are certain exercises that can be more beneficial than others.
Here is a list of 4 best workouts for PCOS…
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Benefits: burns fat, increases cardiovascular fitness and reduces insulin resistance
I remember years ago when I read Tim Ferris book “The 4 Hour Body” where I recall him explaining that he did a bunch of squat reps every time before he ate some food.
Well it turns out he really was onto something: a study found that brief bursts of intense exercise before meals helps control blood sugar in people with insulin resistance more effectively than one daily 30-minute session of moderate exercise.
This is one of the reasons why High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is great for us with PCOS!
HIIT workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods. This type of training has gained popularity due to its efficiency and effectiveness in burning calories, improving insulin sensitivity, and boosting metabolism. HIIT exercises include sprints, burpees, jumping jacks, and mountain climbers. These workouts can be challenging but offer maximum results in a shorter time frame. Begin with a few minutes of warm-up and gradually increase the intensity. Aim for two to three HIIT sessions per week, giving your body enough time to recover between sessions.
Steady-state Cardiovascular Exercises
Benefits: reducing insulin resistance, improving mood and helping weight loss
Unlike HIIT, this is a workout where the intensity of the exercise stays within the same range for the duration of your workout. It helps burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and increase insulin sensitivity. Activities such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and aerobic workouts are excellent options. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise most days of the week. It not only aids in weight management but also promotes the release of endorphins, which can alleviate mood swings and reduce stress.
Benefits: increasing metabolic rate, reducing insulin resistance, increasing muscle and decreasing body fat
Strength training exercises are crucial for women with PCOS, as they help build lean muscle mass and increase metabolism. Resistance training not only aids in weight loss but also improves insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial for those dealing with insulin resistance commonly associated with PCOS. Incorporate exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, and weightlifting into your routine. Start with light weights and gradually increase the intensity over time. Aim for two to three strength training sessions per week, alternating muscle groups for optimal results.
Benefits: burning calories, relaxing mind and body and improving mood
Yoga helps reduce stress levels, and strengthen your body. Specific yoga poses such as the Butterfly Pose, Seated Forward Bend, and Reclining Bound Angle Pose are especially beneficial for women with PCOS.
What is the Worst Exercise for PCOS?
Answering this question is not as easy as it seems, simply because as we mentioned there isn’t a single “worst exercise” for PCOS, and the important thing is that you move your body and find a way of working out that works for your lifestyle.
However, pushing your body too hard and overdoing any exercise can have a negative impact on your hormone balance, increasing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, along with testosterone. Simply put, Cardio and HIIT can be really beneficial as long as you don’t overdo it and start by taking it a bit easier if you’re not used to working out regularly.
FAQs - PCOS Workouts
How does physical exercise help in managing PCOS?
Physical exercise helps manage PCOS by controlling insulin resistance, which affects as many as 70% of women with PCOS, not just from a weight loss perspective.
What are the benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for PCOS?
HIIT burns fat, increases cardiovascular fitness, and reduces insulin resistance, making it an effective workout for women with PCOS.
What are some examples of HIIT exercises?
HIIT exercises include sprints, burpees, jumping jacks, and mountain climbers.
How often should I do HIIT workouts?
Aim for two to three HIIT sessions per week, allowing your body enough time to recover between sessions.
What are the benefits of steady-state cardiovascular exercises for PCOS?
Steady-state cardiovascular exercises reduce insulin resistance, improve mood, and aid in weight loss.
What are some examples of steady-state cardiovascular exercises?
Examples of steady-state cardiovascular exercises include brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, and aerobic workouts.
How much moderate-intensity cardio exercise should I aim for?
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise most days of the week.
What are the benefits of strength training for PCOS?
Strength training increases metabolic rate, reduces insulin resistance, increases muscle, and decreases body fat.
What are some examples of strength training exercises?
Examples of strength training exercises include squats, lunges, push-ups, and weightlifting.
How often should I do strength training sessions?
Aim for two to three strength training sessions per week, alternating muscle groups for optimal results.
What are the benefits of yoga for PCOS?
Yoga helps burn calories, relaxes the mind and body, and improves mood. Specific yoga poses like the Butterfly Pose, Seated Forward Bend, and
Reclining Bound Angle Pose are especially beneficial for women with PCOS.
What is the worst exercise for PCOS?
There isn't a single "worst exercise" for PCOS. It's important to find a workout that works for your lifestyle. However, pushing your body too hard and overdoing any exercise can negatively impact hormone balance. Cardio and HIIT can be beneficial if done in moderation, especially if you're new to regular exercise.