When it comes to PCOS exercise, it’s important to be careful with choosing the right activity for your condition.
Physical activity is crucial for healing PCOS symptoms, improving insulin sensitivity and losing weight. But there are some aspects that you should keep in mind when building a workout routine.
I will share all these in this post.
I think this is a very important topic to talk about. Speaking from my experience, being a total potato couch and a fitness freak is both bad for your hormones. You have to find balance and figure out what workouts are the most beneficial for your health.
Most of my life I wasn’t consistent with my workouts at all. I hated sport and fitness. Three years ago I, on the contrary, fell in love with fitness and kind of started being obsessed with it. Sometimes I worked out 2 times a day, I pushed myself really hard. But guess what? At some point, I stopped seeing progress. All these hours of intensive vigorous exercises didn’t give me much. Because it worsened my hormones.
Always remember that if you have PCOS, you have to be really careful with what you do and what you eat as the hormonal balance is a very fragile thing. You definitely have to do more than other girls if you have to be healthy and slim. PCOS is challenging and demanding. I train more consistently and eat way cleaner than my girlfriends to achieve the same results. It’s a harsh truth. But it’s worth it. I still love being fit and feel healthy, even though it means more determination.
And I hope you think the same.
So let’s figure out what PCOS exercises are the best for you. And which ones you may want to avoid in order to prevent cortisol levels from rising.
Strength training as PCOS workout
I find that strength training and lifting weights (even light) shape my body in the best way. The thing is, having PCOS means you likely have extra fat, low-quality flabby skin and in general look chubby. I don’t define you by this. That’s just what I see in my case and in cases of many other girls with PCOS that I meet and work with.
And the best way to tone, lift and transform your body is to do strength training.
It’s proved that resistant training improves insulin sensitivity, boost metabolism and burn a lot of calories.
Insulin resistance is one of the main PCOS conditions. It causes blood sugar spikes, uncontrolled hunger, sugar cravings, constant fatigue. This is also the reason why you have lots of excess fat on your belly.
Strength workouts help you build muscles that are really helpful in managing glucose levels and improving metabolism. So don’t be afraid of growing your muscles. You won’t look like a man, for sure! It happens only when
You can follow any workouts on YouTube or in your gym. But make sure you target your biggest muscles – legs and booty. Squats, lunges, step-ups, kettlebell swings are just a few examples of awesome exercises. You will find these PCOS exercises in my course “Shedding belly with PCOS“. Check it out if you want to get a step-by-step plan on how to train for improving PCOS and burning belly fat.
In general, whole-body workouts with compound movements are your best choice.
I believe 20-30 minute of moderate intensity strength training 3 days a week will be enough for good results (in addition to walking and other activities).
HIIT as PCOS workout
High-Intensity Interval Training (HITT) is another type of training that can be beneficial for women with PCOS.
Many studies showed positive effects of HIIT on blood glucose control, metabolic rate, HDL (good) cholesterol and globulin levels.
Besides, HIIT is amazing for burning fat and improving body composition.
You need to be smart with your training. Intense exercise can make the symptoms of PCOS worse if you overdo it or if you are already in a state of physical and mental stress.
Cortisol (stress hormone) is another hormone that you have to keep under control in order to heal yourself.
If you push yourself too hard, or do HIIT every day, or choose too long sessions, your body will release cortisol. And you don’t want it to happen.
It becomes even more crucial if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue. With this condition it’s better to avoid HIIT and focus on low-intensity strength training, walking, doing yoga or swimming.
Anyway, the best advice is to listen to your body. If you feel great after HIIT workouts and notice the improvement of your health conditions, then continue doing it.
If you feel sick and fatigue, then it’s better to avoid HIIT exercises
And keep in mind, that everything is good in moderation. Short 20-minute HIIT session unlikely can make any harm. So if you decide to include this type of training in your routine don’t choose long sessions (short time is one of the best things about HIIT) and opt for no more than 2-3 HIIT a week.
I am a big fan of HIIT. That’s why my course “Shedding belly with PCOS” includes a workout plan with HIIT exercises. They give amazing results. And when combining with a healthy PCOS-focused diet, it allows to shape and transform your body. So if you are serious in your desire to shed this hormonal belly fat, consider enrolling now.
Cardio as a PCOS exercise
Cardio is an aerobic exercise that raises your heart rate. It is beneficial for your heart and overall health. And for many years it has been the favorite training for people who wanted to lose weight.
But not all forms of cardio are good for women with PCOS.
Excess cardiovascular (cardio) exercises can increase cortisol and raise androgen levels. Avoiding excess cardio during stressful times can help limit that cortisol response when it is already likely elevated.
Unfortunately, steady-state endurance workouts are not the best for you. Such activities like running, rowing, rope jumping are ok occasionally but they shouldn’t be your main training.
Besides, studies have proven HIIT to be just as effective in improving cardiovascular health. That’s why you can hit the same goals doing HIIT instead of steady-state cardio.
Should you eliminate cardio completely?
Just keep steady-state cardio to a limit and be sure to balance it with other types of exercise.
Moderate exercise like brisk walking, jogging, cycling or swimming are all great activities that can help with PCOS.
Yoga and pilates PCOS workouts
As you already know, managing stress is one of the best ways to improve PCOS symptoms. And such mindfulness practice like yoga can really help with this.
Eliminating stress completely is almost impossible in the modern world. It should be your first priority, but… life happens. That’s why you have to learn how to calm yourself down during stressful times in order to lower cortisol levels. Yoga has been shown to decrease cortison and help balance day-to-day stresses more effectively.
Studies showed that practicing yoga improved endocrine levels, testosterone, and menstrual frequency in women with PCOS. So that’s a great idea to incorporate yoga into your routine. Doing 30 minutes of yoga 3 times a week can be sufficient for seeing a
You may want to avoid vigorous styles of yoga and focus only on calming, peaceful exercises (such as Hatha or Yin).
Another amazing PCOS workout can be pilates
Pilates is wonderful for creating long, strong and lean muscles. It’s not that mild but it is low-impact. Such training helps you improve insulin sensitivity and strengthen muscles while avoiding cortisol raises. Besides, it helps to deal with stress and anxiety using breathing and relaxation techniques
I choose pilates when I don’t have much energy to perform HIIT or lifting weights. And I’ve noticed how pilates improves my body strength even though all the movements are slow and simple
What is also great about yoga and pilates it that you can strengthen your uterus as well which is really beneficial for women health.
In other words, pilates combined with yoga is an excellent addition to your strength training/HIIT.
I will share my favorite yoga and pilates workouts in the next post where I will be talking about each workout in more details.
That’s was my general overview of the most popular workouts. I hope it makes sense and helps you figure out what types of activities you should be focusing on
Just keep in mind that what works for one person, may not work for the next person because we are all individuals with different backgrounds, lifestyles, and hormonal make-ups.
As a general rule, you should avoid too vigorous and endurant workouts. With PCOS you don’t have to push yourself and challenge your body’s limits. I know how addictive fitness and sport can be. But if your hormones and your health are the priorities for you (and they definitely should!) you have to train wisely and consistently. Regular activity is
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