Getting regular physical activity is an important component of managing the symptoms of PCOS.
One of the best tools for managing PCOS is exercise, but not all exercise is equal. There is a plethora of information online telling women with PCOS to work out, but most of those resources don’t explain how. Too many of these websites encourage women to lose weight in order to improve their symptoms, but there’s so much more to it than that.
It’s not only about how much time your exercise or how many calories you burn, but it’s mostly about improving insulin levels and reducing stress. That’s what you should definitely be focusing on.
Not any type of exercises is equally ideal for treating PCOS. I’ve talked about most popular of them in my post “Best PCOS workouts”. Check it out!
One of the safest and most effective workouts for PCOS is Pilates. In addition to toning and strengthening your body, pilates promotes healthy circulation and supports the reproductive system. Reducing stress is a priority in managing PCOS, which is why Pilates is also a great choice.
I was sceptical about pilates for many years and now I really don’t understand why! This training is one of the most pleasant though powerful. My abs are really strong but I still find some pilates movements are quite challenging which means it targets those muscles that don’t work enough during other workout sessions.
So I really encourage you to give pilates a shot and now let’s just get straight
What is pilates and how does it work
Pilates is a form of resistance training that has many benefits for PCOS sufferers. It helps to improve lean muscle mass using the resistance of your own body weight.
Pilates movements focus primarily on the core, which includes both the abdomen and the back muscles. It can be highly beneficial for dealing with lower back pain. With these types of exercises, you can also strengthen the legs, thighs
Along with the strengthening, pilates also increases joint flexibility. This is really helpful for people who have arthritis or want to prevent hip and knee injuries in the
Pilates mixes gentle movements with strength building. It helps build muscles in a slow, yet sustainable way while inducing feelings of calm and relaxation. Learning to induce relaxation on cue (i.e. relaxation training) is a great strategy for creating and maintaining long-term health and hormonal wellness. In this hectic world, we may have forgotten how to actually relax. Exercises that bring together mind and body are especially beneficial for PCOS.
The Benefits of Pilates
Pilates emphasizes core strength and flexibility. Let’s look at some reasons why that benefits us.
- Good posture. Pilates requires that your body is always in alignment, and it follows that your posture will improve over time. Improving posture is especially helpful for people with lower back pain.
- Toned muscles. Due to lack of activity or the natural effects of aging, our muscle tone tends to decrease over time. Pilates exercises activate muscles that may not have been used for a long time. Working them will lead to initial soreness, followed eventually by a firm and toned body. Older people especially may benefit from incorporating pilates movements
- Flat abdominal muscles. Pilates often focuses on abdominal work. So it means that regular practice may lead to building strong six-pack abs. Even though many pilates movements may seem simple, they are really effective in targeting the deepest muscles of your stomach.
- Flexibility. Flexibility is another feature that our bodies lose over time. Pilates can help to increase flexibility, which is crucial when it comes to avoiding injuries and pains.
- Improved balance. Due to the mind-body connection,
pilateshelps you become more in tune with your body, which leads to an improvement in your balance. Pilates, with its relaxation-based strength training, contributes to an overall sense of balance and general feelings of well-being.
- Stress reduction. Pilates reduces stress by refocusing your energy onto the present moment. When we’re in the present moment, the stresses and strains of our day fall away while we focus on our breath. The more we practice being in this state, the easier it becomes to get into it, even when we’re off the mat.
- Healthy nervous system. Every time we move we activate several specific areas of our brain. The brain sends an impulse through the spinal cord to the muscle fibers. When you learn to voluntarily engage certain muscles (such as the deep core activation in pilates) you fire a movement chain that might have been asleep for a long time.
- Better digestion. Regular
pilatesexercise has been shown to improve digestion and reduce irritation within the gut. The massaging nature of certain Pilates movements facilitates elimination, thereby reducing toxins in the digestive system.
What do you need for PCOS pilates?
Pilates classes may be either mat classes or reformer classes.
Mat classes are exactly what they sound like. You’ll use a mat and possibly some resistance bands, with a lot of your resistance coming from your own body weight. At-home pilates workouts will be similar to mat classes. So in this case, you don’t need any special equipment to start exercising.
Another form of pilates is reformer-based. A reformer is a sliding platform with a
So as you can see, in pilates, your muscles are working against the resistance which comes from your own body weight, bands, gravity, or the reformer. That’s why it’s a great strength exercise to create lean muscles.
Your goal should be to take your time with the exercises, focus, and connect to your breath. It’s more important to focus on form and execution of the movement rather than the number of reps or reaching muscle fatigue.
Dedicating your entire focus to these small movements means that you’ll be working muscles you probably haven’t worked in a while. And that means muscle soreness. Your post-workout soreness may reach a new level, but over time your body will get used to the new movements. Soreness means you’re growing and challenging yourself in new ways. Try to embrace it!
My favorite pilates workouts
I’ve already told you about this in my post “Yoga for PCOS”, but I really enjoy Boho Beautiful workouts on YouTube. If you don’t have time/money to attend classes you can always play these videos and do pilates workout at home.
Though if you are just starting, I would recommend
Then you can add more challenging workouts to strengthen muscles:
Make sure you also improve your eating habits as healthy eating and exercising go hand in hand. If you want to reduce your PCOS symptoms and lose weight, download my free 7-day low-carb Meal Plan:
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