Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Exercise

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder which can occur in any woman of reproductive age.

It causes the ovaries (organs that produce the ovum or egg)  to be enlarged and surrounded by small cysts (fluid filled sac) at the outer edges.

Cause

The cause of PCOS isn’t exactly known but may be attributed to genetic (inherited) and environmental factors.

Early diagnosis and treatment as well as weight loss or management can go a long way in reducing long term results of this condition such as infertility, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, miscarriages, depression, premature birth and uterine cancer.

Why exercise is important to PCOS patients?

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome find it difficult to loose weight because of hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance (body not responding to the effects of insulin).

So exercise and dieting go a long way to help shed some weight. 

Recommended diets

  • Low carb intake
  • More fiber
  • High protein foods
  • Healthy fat (Avocado, Cheese, Whole eggs)
  • Fatty fish (Sardine, Salmon)
  • Chia seed
  • Coconut and coconut oil

Recommended exercises

Exercises are known to reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels (remember PCOS patients are at greater risk of having type 2 diabetes and heart diseases). 

Cardio Activities

It helps boost fertility, mood as well as increase the body’s insulin sensitivity. It includes brisk or fast walking, swimming, cycling, skipping, stair climbing and jogging.

Strength training

This helps to also improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin. It increases the body’s metabolic rate as well as improve the body’s composition (more muscles, less fat). It includes squats, push ups, weight lifting,  use of resistance bands and crunches.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

This increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin, improves nervous system response, reduces waist circumference, body mass index  as well as cardiovascular fitness.

It involves short and intense exercises with short intervals of rests. It’s comprised mostly of cardio exercises kettlebell swings, burpees, sprints, use of stationary bikes and squat to overhead press.

Core strengthening exercises

They help prepare the body for pregnancy by training the muscles of the pelvis, hips, lower back and abdomen. They include planks, crunch, bridge, bird dog, bicycle crunch, mountain climbing etc.

All these when combined definitely help improve chances of getting pregnant and reduce the chances of having chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.

This lifestyle changes help weight reduction and maintenance of healthy body weight.

Consistency is key, always remember that.

#HealthyNaija

Pharm. Ucheoma Ezinne