The Importance of Physical Activity in the Life of a Woman with PCOS

The Importance of Physical Activity in the Life of a Woman with PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a confusing and problematic disease. The core issue is that the symptoms of PCOS vary from woman to woman. Fatigue, irregular or painful periods, sudden weight gain, these are all issues that at first glance seems to mimic and copy other diseases. In fact, in certain cases, women don’t even show any symptoms at all. Sadly, most of the time a diagnosis is reached because a woman suffering from this problem develops more severe symptoms that lead her directly to a doctor.

More common symptoms

The core issue with PCOS is that it’s caused by a hormone imbalance. Most often, women who suffer from this problem have more male hormones (androgens). Arguably the most famous one is testosterone – a hormone that both women and men share, of course, with men having much, much higher levels. Now, PCOS means that the women suffering from it will have higher test levels as well. This then leads to one common symptom, namely, excess hair growth.

The other common symptom is that it often messes with female sex hormones, mostly those that regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. Namely, most women who have PCOS will have irregular periods. They might have it every other month at best. They might also have a period that lasts for weeks, all the while accompanied by heavier blood clots.

Next, weight gain is also common, both gradual and rapid. This weight gain is usually directed at the abdomen or general middle part of the body of women who have PCOS. Namely, they most often have higher insulin levels, the growth hormone that leads to weight gain. It also leads to an increase in cravings, and low blood sugar, which only further leads to the body having a hard time losing weight.

Uncommon symptoms

Ovulatory infertility is caused by PCOS more often than not. This leads to women having issues conceiving and getting pregnant because of their hormonal imbalance. Namely, this imbalance leads to the prevention and stopping of ovulation. Furthermore, if they do become pregnant, they have a very high chance of miscarrying.

Metabolic syndrome can also be caused by PCOS. This syndrome includes high blood pressure, excess body fat around your waist, abnormal cholesterol levels, as well as high blood sugar. You also face a higher chance of suffering from heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. In fact, almost 10% of women who have PCOS get Type 2 diabetes after a while.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is prevalent in women who have PCOS. Most likely caused by the increased weight they suffer form, as well as higher testosterone levels. Sleep apnoea can lead to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and finally, fatigue.

Managing the mental issues of PCOS – Getting your groove back

However, it is manageable, and the best way you can do just that if through making positive lifestyle changes. Mixing up your diet and getting some exercise are the key factors you need to stick to if you want to minimize the ill effects of PCOS.

Namely, the physical symptoms, like excess testosterone and insulin resistance, are quite annoying, and difficult to deal with. This then leads to, among other things, alopecia (less hair on your head), and hirsutism (excess body hair). You can also expect some changes in your skin, like acne, or strange dark patches. Needless to say, a girl’s body image and self-esteem might take a hit, for no fault of her own. The best way you can get it back is by going strong, by working out, by cleaning up your diet and showing how strong you are. This then also leads to the actual mitigation of some symptoms, like cleaner skin, for example.

Namely, it’s completely normal that you feel anxiety, depression, and just a lower sense of self due to PCOS and its symptoms. Getting your self-assurance back means wonders for your mental health. Practicing a sport and regularly exercising can help you get some confidence. Challenge yourself, show yourself just how much drama and hardship you can handle. Sure, PCOS is annoying, but you won’t really take it that seriously after running your first marathon, or after going through a very difficult CrossFit circuit. No need to truly obsess over your type of cardio, choosing one of the many types of bicycles for your cardio, or driving yourself crazy. Sure, pedantry can get you better results, but don’t let it prevent you from actually working out.

Furthermore, physical exercise can also help you clear your head. A big part of anxiety is being stuck inside your own mind, obsessing over things that are not in control, ruminating, letting yourself be carried by your thoughts and feelings. Exercise helps you break through this cycle, helps you get rid of negative energy. Trust us, there is no better drug and no easier way to clear your mind than through a runner’s high.

Depression is, of course, best handled with a friend and with a psychiatrist. However, exercise can also help a great deal. You might feel that your condition is keeping you down. And sure, it’s not easy, it’s not pleasant, and it’s not your fault at all. However, that’s no reason you should wallow in it. Exercise actually helps mitigate depression, it releases happy hormones, and gives you a boost in wellbeing. And since you will also be just generally healthier, you can also expect life to get easier, to have more energy, and to simply have an easier time of doing things.

The Best Exercise for life with PCOS

Of course, any exercise will do you good when you want to deal with PCOS. However, there are of course different types of exercise, which then, of course, give you proper benefits. Now, most of this helps stabilize your mood, reduce your insulin resistance, get you some more muscle, and some less fat. They can help you achieve a healthy BMI, strengthen your heart and your general cardiovascular system. They are also great for injury prevention and can help you strengthen your body and prepare it for the hardships of pregnancy.

So, let’s start with cardio. It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a walk, a jog, an actual run, some spring work, or swimming, it all leads to great assistance with PCOS. Specifically, cardio helps with your body’s sensitivity to insulin. It reduces insulin resistance the most, which then means your risk of type 2 diabetes and your cardiovascular disease risk is lowered as well. Thirty minutes per day, every day, can help with depression, anxiety, help your menstrual cycles, and help with ovulation. Now, they vary in that 30 minutes of sprinting is much more intense than 30 minutes of walking. Furthermore, swimming, for example, has the benefit of improving your posture, while intense springing helps with your core.

Next, direct core work. Now, your core is basically a belt around your waist. Composed of the muscles around your waist, including the abs, your core keeps your spine upright, and it protects you from injury when you exercise. They help with lower back issues as well. When you train your pelvic floor through Kegels, you can prevent incontinence, help strengthen your pelvic stability, increase sexual health, and just make the muscles that help you give birth become stronger.

Strength training can be useful as well. Now, let’s get one thing straight – you won’t get too bulky from weighs. Unless you are using an obscene amount of steroids, you will not wake up one morning with arms the size of an action movie star. It will help you build strength, no question about that. However, this will help “tone” you up, and assist you in just looking better. Also, more muscle mass means a boosted metabolism. This helps with your metabolic rate, you will actually lose weight faster when you carry muscle mass. More muscle means you need more fuel. Cardio is paired wonderfully with this type of exercise, leading you to reduce the risk of getting type 2 diabetes, stretching your bones, and becoming healthier overall.

Finally, HIIT training. Also known as high-intensity interval training, it’s basically a form of cardio. However, it gets its own category due to how specific it is. Namely high-intensity interval training is pretty clearly explained through its name. You have one bout of very intense, high level and hard-core cardio, and then you couple it with lighter intensity running for rest and recovery. For example, you can run all out of one minute and then go for a casual run for five minutes.


And there you have it folks, the importance of physical activity for any woman dealing with PCOS. Namely, the benefits of physical activity are twofold. On one level, they help your mind and your emotions. Physical activity helps you clear your head, reduce anxiety, and can mitigate any depressive symptoms. On a physical level, it helps keep certain side-effects of PCOS under control. It lowers insulin resistance, keeps your body weight in check, and improves your metabolism.