Benefits of Exercise for Women with PCOS

benefits exercise pcos
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Making positive lifestyle changes are key to managing PCOS. Diet and exercise are two of the main ways you can do that and both areas need to be addressed for these lifestyle changes to be successful.

Regular exercise has incredible benefits that go way beyond weight loss for women with PCOS.Here's 7 important ones:

1 – Boost Insulin Sensitivity

Regular cardio exercise and strength training has been shown to help your body respond better to insulin, lowering your risk for diabetes and other complications.

2 – Lower Cholesterol

Women with PCOS are more likely to have high cholesterol and triglycerides. This can also contribute to other complications like metabolic syndrome, which is also more prevalent in women with PCOS. Exercising can help reduce your cholesterol when combined with a healthy, low-fat diet.

3 – Increase endorphins

Women with PCOS are more likely to develop symptoms of depression. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that promote feelings of wellness. This can help you manage stress and alleviate some symptoms of depression.

4 – Better sleep!

Who doesn’t need better sleep? Exercising regularly can help you fall asleep quicker and have a better quality sleep. Women with PCOS are more likely to have problems with sleep apnea, snoring and even insomnia. Try adding in regular exercise – just not right before bed – and see if that helps you get a better sleep at night.

Keep in mind that it may take a few days or weeks before you see results; you’ll probably be more tired in the beginning while your body adjusts to the extra activity.

5 – Lower your Risk for Heart Disease

Heart disease is the number one killer of women and women with PCOS are at a much greater risk for developing atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Regular cardio exercise strengthens the heart muscle and significantly lowers your risk for these complications.

6 – Regulate Hormones

When you burn more calories then you take in, your body feeds off the fat already stored in your body. This of course helps you lose weight and reduce insulin. Not only that, but having excess fat has an effect on your hormones, namely estrogen production. Reducing some of those extra fat stores can help get your hormones, and hopefully your PCOS, under control.

7 – Weight loss

Losing weight is a common reason that women give for wanting to start, or continue, their exercise program. Keep in mind that women with PCOS do struggle with weight loss even with a healthy diet and regular cardio and strength training exercise, so this shouldn’t be the primary reason why you exercise.

It can be difficult to stay motivated to keep up with a regular exercise plan when you struggle to see results. Rather, try to remember all of the other benefits listed above in mind as you embark on a new exercise plan.


Updated by PCOS Expert Angela Grassi, MS, RDN, LDN

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