The best exercise routine for PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that can lead to various health issues, including insulin resistance, weight gain, and irregular menstrual cycles. Exercise can be a helpful component of managing PCOS symptoms and improving overall health. The best exercise routine for PCOS should include a combination of cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Here’s a suggested exercise routine:

Cardiovascular exercise helps improve insulin sensitivity and can aid in weight management, which is crucial for PCOS.

  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing.

OR

  • Alternatively, you can do 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, like running or high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

OR

A combination of both moderate and vigorously intense exercise.

Vigorous exercise has specific benefits for PCOS that moderate-intensity exercise does not. It is important to incorporate at least some vigorous exercise which is exercise to the point of breathing heavily and you are unable to hold a conversation. 

 

Strength training can help increase muscle mass, which can aid in boosting metabolism and managing insulin resistance.

    • Include strength training exercises 2-3 times a week. This can involve using dumbbells, resistance bands, or your body weight.
    • It is important for your strength training routine to be progressive, which means it gradually gets more difficult over time as you become stronger. 
    • Focus on compound lifts that work more than one muscle at a time such as squats, deadlift, push-ups and overhead presses

Yoga or Pilates are excellent options for improving flexibility and balance.

These exercises can also help reduce stress, which is beneficial for managing PCOS symptoms.

 

Tailor the Routine to Your Preferences:

  • Choose exercises that you enjoy, as you’re more likely to stick with a routine that you find fun and engaging.
  • Consider working with a fitness professional or personal trainer to create a personalized exercise plan that suits your specific needs and goals.

Consistency:

  • Consistency is key to seeing long-term benefits. Establish a regular exercise routine that you can maintain over time.

 

Sample week:

Monday: 30-60 minutes strength training, compound movements with rest between sets

Tuesday: Walk 30-60 minutes, can be broken up throughout the day in 10-20 minute increments

Wednesday: 15-20 minutes of vigorous exercise or High Intensity Intervals

Thursday: 30-60 minutes strength training, compound movements with rest between sets

Friday: Walk 30-60 minutes, can be broken up throughout the day in 10-20 minute increments

Saturday: 15-20 minutes of vigorous exercise or High Intensity Intervals

Sunday: General activity aka don’t be a couch potato. Leisure walk, cooking, gardening, cleaning etc. You could also do gentle yoga, stretching etc

Add in Yoga as time and budget allow. If it is hot and/or intense yoga that may contribute to your vigorous exercise for the week

This is a sample week. You can and should adapt it to fit your schedule, lifestyle and preferences.

 

Remember that exercise alone may not completely resolve PCOS symptoms, but when combined with a balanced diet and other lifestyle changes, it can significantly improve your overall well-being and help manage PCOS effectively.

 

 

 

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