Mistakes that Women Make While Exercising in PCOS
Anuja Dani

Anuja Dani

Jun 10PCOS

Mistakes that Women Make While Exercising in PCOS

This blog has been compiled by Komal Adhlaka, a content writer for Proactive For Her.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition that affects nearly 8 to 15 per cent of women who are of reproductive age. It can cause

  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • Skin conditions like acne
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Sleep apnea
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risks for complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia.

While the above-mentioned consequences of PCOS are not general to every woman with PCOS, certain lifestyle changes and exercise can help reduce the likelihood of these effects by helping in the following ways:

Reduced insulin resistance- Women with PCOS experience higher insulin resistance than women who do not have it. Insulin resistance leads to lesser absorption of blood sugar in your body and hence makes you feel less energetic. Many doctors suggest that a lack of physical activity and excess body weight can contribute to insulin resistance. While not all women with PCOS are overweight, physical exercise can help to maintain your regular body weight and reduce insulin resistance through the condition.

Improved Emotional State- Anxiety and depression are common psychological symptoms in up to 40-45% of women with PCOS. Since obesity can cause depression, losing unnecessary weight is extremely beneficial in order to manage emotional imbalances associated with PCOS. Symptoms such as acne and infertility may trigger a negative emotional response. Hence, exercise can reduce these symptoms, resulting in positive improvements in mood and emotional state.

Weight management- A research review of lifestyle interventions in PCOS found that exercise helps reduce weight, abdominal fat, and fasting insulin levels. It was also discovered that exercise could help women of all weight levels with PCOS either lose or maintain their weight.

Variety of workout plans- Any type of exercise, such as strength training and aerobic activity, etc., proved beneficial to women with PCOS. Any exercise that helps you maintain consistency of doing it, which you enjoy doing, and which makes your body feel more relaxed than exhausted can greatly help maintain body weight during PCOS while also reducing the risk of adverse effects of the illness.

exercise mistakes

Mistakes women make while exercising in PCOS

Exercise is a necessary part of taking control over PCOS. If you’ve been regular with exercise or love to try new workout routines, there are several factors to consider to help avoid the common pitfalls and to fix one if made.

Having a notion of “What works for them, will work for me too.”

What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next person because all of us have different biological and environmental backgrounds, lifestyles, and hormonal make-ups. Therefore, each of us must have a unique exercise plan for ourselves to progress optimally.

How to fix it?

Look for a highly qualified personal trainer or someone with the required expertise to help you customise your workout plan for your body and goals. Also, you must ask questions to have your doubts cleared before you begin training with a specific workout program. So the key is to find a qualified person who understands your fitness goals, considers your PCOS condition, and can help you produce the best results.

Over-exhausting your body

Initially, exercising can be thrilling to see the extent to which the body can be pushed. Some women with PCOS, who aim at losing weight faster, sometimes over-invest themselves in a workout resulting in injury. Compulsive or excessive exercise is a serious concern. When doing exercise is a result of desperation to achieve a fitness goal, it can be easy to feel the urge to exercise non-stop, creating an unhealthy relationship with it and ultimately overdoing it and getting hurt.

How to fix it?

Exercising must relax your body, mind, and soul and not leave you exhausted, putting you in a situation where you doubt your intention to work out the next day. Incorporating yoga, for example, is a great way to stretch overworked muscles and reduce the stress hormone cortisol and testosterone levels. However, everything needs to be done in moderation. Set your schedule to exercise every week and give yourself small breaks to help you stay on track. This helps to make exercise a healthy part of life, rather than the only thing that eventually exhausts you.

Overdoing Cardio

The problem with overdoing cardio while not being able to reduce weight is because of the law of diminishing returns.

How to fix it?

Muscle burns more calories than fat. Reducing cardio and increasing resistance training can greatly impact the total calories burned in a day by women with PCOS. Also, it changes the body composition over time. Women with PCOS can build muscle easily due to higher testosterone levels. Use this to your advantage by planning your workouts with a balanced mix of cardio and resistance exercises.

Misunderstanding your body’s abilities

While you’re working out, you must be hearing loud words of motivation from your trainers or friends, etc. But when you’re not in your workout space and feeling pain while doing other things, you may feel a sense of disappointment and low self-esteem.

How to fix it?

Lactic acid causes burns during exercise, while muscle damage causes soreness after exercise. Both are normal responses post working out. But when you over workout and the burn and pain are persistently felt in other areas of the body, you must understand and stick to your body’s limits while following the plan. While it may seem tempting and over-boosting to lift some extra weight to do a few more reps, following an exercise routine with planned reps or weights keeps the exercise and you safe and healthy, allowing for long-term progress. Never let short-term satisfaction misunderstand your body’s abilities.

Experimenting with different exercise plans infrequently

There are many ways to work every body part, and there will always be those people who experiment with different exercises to “keep the body guessing” and eventually lead to marginal progress.

How to fix it?

While experimenting with different workout plans may help your interest and consistency to sustain, you must know the right way to balance your exercise routine. The key to acing the law of adaptation is to not change exercises too frequently, but frequent enough to ensure optimal progress. You may stick to the same exercise plan to build muscle until you start to see diminishing returns. After that, you can change your plan to ensure progression and return to the previous exercise in 7-10 weeks to see how you’ve improved with varied plans to determine whether they helped you achieve your fitness goals.

Final Words

Starting and maintaining an exercise routine is the key to managing PCOS. Follow a routine that you can easily do on an everyday basis and not feel bored or over-exhausted. Also, develop the right mindset and resources by planning, learning, and implementing any routine you plan. While also, keep in mind that your daily diet must be balanced with your daily workout to help tissues and muscles repair, give you energy, and maintain optimal body weight.

Disclaimer - This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

Proactive For Her is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalised, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer out-patient care, diagnostic services and programs for various health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause.