If you’re feeling lost when it comes to exercise and suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome, or know somebody who does, the good news is that strength training for PCOS has tons of benefits that will help you to manage symptoms, drop weight and build some muscle all the while, so let’s find out how.
Strength Training for PCOS or Cardio?
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When it comes to PCOS and weight lifting, it isn’t one thing or another in fact it should be a combination of the two.
The difficulty that comes with PCOS and exercising in any capacity is that what works for one person might not work for somebody else. That being said, it is a good idea to trial various ways of training and see which brings results for you.
Nonetheless, there is research suggesting that the benefits of PCOS and strength training combined are clear with scientific evidence to back it up. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the benefits.
Benefits of Strength training for PCOS
PCOS Weight Lifting Can Help Insulin Resistance
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Lifting weights can have enormous benefits to improve overall insulin sensitivity, which is something that should be focused upon in order to contribute to results. Insulin resistance is something that many women who suffer from PCOS can have, similar to those who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
It essentially means that while the body can make insulin, it cannot use it effectively leading to things like weight gain which then makes PCOS symptoms worse and even makes the body produce more insulin creating a vicious cycle that makes losing weight harder and harder.
So where does weight training come into play?
By performing a PCOS friendly strength training workout, you could see changes in symptoms due to the muscle development that comes along with this intensity of training, which reduces the amount of insulin required by the body to maintain a normal functioning and overall glucose tolerance. It is said that by gaining muscle and staying consistent with resistance training, insulin sensitivity increases.
This is something that we want to see, once you become more sensitive to insulin, you begin to lessen the risks of becoming diabetic and suffering from the symptoms of insulin resistance overall.
Weight Training Can help Lower Testosterone Levels
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While you may be aware that there is some sort of link between testosterone and weight training, how can this be beneficial for women with PCOS?
Firstly, some women with PCOS can suffer from high levels of testosterone, causing symptoms like facial hair, hair loss, midsection fat and more.
So, by exercising more in general, including strength training, you will begin to lose weight, and as long as this is paired with a healthy diet, this will have a knock on effect in lowering testosterone levels.
Strength training has been shown to reduce elevated testosterone levels in those with PCOS while also some findings suggesting that overweight women who don’t have PCOS still lowered testosterone levels through losing weight holistically.
That being said, strength training for PCOS can be a hugely beneficial factor to contribute to managing overall symptoms.
Resistance Training with PCOS can Promote Weight Loss
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Strength training helps to promote weight loss in several ways.
First, it increases your overall metabolic rate by building muscle mass and increasing your lean body mass, meaning that you will burn more calories.
Additionally, strength training builds muscle mass, which helps to burn fat more efficiently without having to cut too many calories from your diet.
The last thing you want is to attain a diet that is not sustainable, by strength training you can build a diet for yourself that is going to complement your workout routine and not limit your prospects of getting stronger.
So while any exercise is of course beneficial for weight loss, strength training can offer this benefit of weight loss while also contributing to other management of PCOS symptoms.
Strength Training Helps to Prevent Long Term Health Risks Associated with PCOS
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The difficulties that come along with suffering from PCOS can increase the risk of long term health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Studies suggest that regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of these diseases and strength training is one way to do this.
Weight lifting for PCOS assists in reducing insulin resistance levels, improving blood pressure levels, and promoting healthy cholesterol levels.
All of these benefits combined make strength training a great way for women with PCOS to prevent long term health risks and manage their symptoms in the long run.
How Much Should You Exercise with PCOS to see Results?
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The amount of exercise you need to do depends on factors like your age and fitness level but if you have PCOS then it is recommended that you do at least three or four days of strength training per week for 30-45 minutes each session.
Again, this is subjective to each and every person, but it can be a good goal to work towards.
Nonetheless, it is important to include other forms of exercise such as walking or jogging on a regular basis as well as taking rest days in order to get the most out of your workout routine.
Ensure that you take into consideration any potential injuries or fatigue caused by overtraining, listen to your body and if you have one, listen to your trainer.
Where to Start if you’re New to Exercise and have PCOS
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If you are new to exercise then it is important to start slow and build up gradually over time so that you don’t injure yourself or cause unnecessary fatigue due to overexertion.
Having a personal trainer when living with PCOS can be beneficial. This is because often, results may be slower than they are for others who don’t suffer from PCOS and having the knowledge as to why, and the motivation to keep pushing is important.
You should ensure that your PT has knowledge of PCOS, it is something that many women struggle with. Having someone to provide guidance and support throughout your strength training journey can be invaluable when it comes to adhering to an exercise program.
A personal trainer can help you develop an individualised strength-training program which fits your kind of PCOS. It isn’t a one size fits all so it is important that your PT is willing and understanding of what it is you need from them.
How Do I Get Started with a PCOS Personal Trainer?
Here at Infinity Performance, we have results from various women from PCOS.
It is completely understood that no woman suffers the same, so if you or somebody you know needs help in getting their PCOS symptoms under control, enquire today for a FREE discovery call to see how we can get your PCOS symptoms under control.