Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal problem that affects a women during their childbearing years. It not only affects the reproductive system but also metabolism in general. However, there is no cure to it yet. It increases the risk of pregnancy complications and type 2 diabetes.
2 non pharmacological ways to manage PCOS are exercising and following a structured diet.
Recommended exercises to improve your cardiovascular function and decrease risk of type 2 diabetes are:
- Cardio: To help alleviate PCOS symptoms, start with exercises such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming at moderate intensity (roughly 70% of Max HR** if you are a beginner). These exercises are known to release endorphins and endocannabinoids. These are pain relieving substances and improve your mental health too.
- Women with PCOS can benefit from resistance training.The reason is that they have higher testosterone levels (hyperandrogenism). Progressive resistance training in such women enhances muscle strength. Studies show resistance training (3/week for 16 weeks consistently) produced an increase in maximum strength and the concentration of testosterone also decreased. It also improves body composition by decreasing body fat. An added benefit is improved insulin sensitivity which is another metabolic issue commonly seen in such women.
- Core strengthening : Central obesity in overweight women can give rise to mechanical back pain. Core muscles are spinal stabilisers. By strengthening core muscles, the chances of getting mechanical back pain due to poor posture reduces to a great extent.
- Pelvic floor muscle strengthening: This group of muscles are most ignored. Pelvic floor muscle strengthening helps in minimising urinary incontinence, improve pelvic stability, all of which contribute to healthy pregnancy outcomes.
- Yoga: Yoga includes a mindfulness component that fosters relaxation and mood balance.
** Max HR= 220-Age (this formula is used for ease of calculation).
Before starting an exercise programme, remember to consult an expert if you have medical issues or have had Covid-19 infection in the past.
~ Authored by Dr. Anuja Mhatre (Prenatal/Postnatal & Cardiac Rehab Expert, Mind Your Fitness!)