For our local, seasonal and international patients, we have created this resource libraryso at home or abroad, help is just a click away. PCOS sometimes changes in the way you look, for example some women grow hair, gain weight, and develop skin problems. PCOS can cause small cysts to form on your ovaries, which is the reason it’s termed polycystic ovary syndrome. The cysts can be painful, especially if they rupture, and unfortunately these lead to the hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS. The question of cardio is one that I often get and so in this article, Erika answers our questions about cardio exercise and PCOS.Many of you contacted me after reading my article on a€?Belly Fat and PCOS.a€? Ia€™m very excited and encouraged by all of your questions and comments! Ita€™s been amazing to discover that so many women with PCOS are exercising!Some of the women who reached out to me were fitness newbies while others spent more time at the gym than me! Regardless of experience level, it seemed that many women are under the impression that cardio exercise is the best way to burn calories and, more specifically, the more cardio you do, the more weight you will lose.Aerobic exercise is one of several tools you have at your disposal when trying to lose weight. Unfortunately, many women who are dedicated to their fitness unknowingly sabotage their progress by misusing cardio.
The treadmill is not a magic wrecking ball you can use to knock out that extra glass (or three) of wine or the slice of cake you had on Friday night.It is 100% true that exercise burns calories and that if you exercise enough, you will burn enough calories to lose weight. Burning off an over-indulgent diet is difficult and takes hours of physical activity everyday!Ia€™ve found that when women get stuck in this line of thinking they often develop an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise.I want you to avoid this pitfall! Nothing will have a more powerful influence over your health than what you eat and how often you move.Start thinking of aerobic exercise as the shovel you use to dig a strong foundation for good health and a fit body.

The objective of any exercise program is to stimulate physiological changes in the body that will enhance your health.
The goal of your exercise program should never be to a€?burn offa€? the bad nutrition choices youa€™ve made!The Two Types of Cardio ExerciseThere are two types of cardio that I recommend including in your workout programs: high intensity interval training (HIIT) and steady-state moderate intensity cardio. The trainee will alternate between bouts of extremely difficult fast-paced exercise and bouts of very low intensity work. The most common examples of this are jogging or using an elliptical trainer for 40-90 minutes.HIIT is especially important for women with PCOS because of the physiological effect it has on insulin sensitivity.
Several medical studies have found that HIIT workouts are more effective than other forms of exercise at increasing insulin sensitivity.A study published in the International Journal of Obesity compared young women who did HIIT workouts with young women who did steady-sate cardio workouts. The women who did HIIT had a 31% decrease in fasting insulin concentrations compared to 9% for the steady state group. Many fitness experts have taken this approach, but I feel ita€™s not the best choice for PCOS women.Steady-state cardio has plenty of physiological benefits. In my opinion, the most important of these is that moderate to low intensity cardio is restorative.I dona€™t think I am alone when I say that having PCOS is stressful. Steady-state cardio, especially when it is done outdoors has been shown to ease psychological stress. In fact, some mental health professionals prescribe outdoor cardio as a treatment for anxiety and depression.In addition to helping you renew your mind, moderate intensity aerobic exercise also helps your body recover from stress. Steady-state cardio stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system which is the division of your nervous system that shuts down your a€?fight or flighta€? responses to stress and allows you to rest and recover.Moderate and low intensity exercise will help you recover from high intensity workouts.

Moderate intensity aerobic workouts help increase blood flow to damaged muscle tissues and boost your recovery.
Taking a day off from any physical activity is really not necessary for recovery especially since most of us spend our days seated at a desk and our evenings sitting on a couch. A moderate intensity cardio workout, like a brisk walk, is often the better choice.A Balanced Cardio Workout ScheduleMy suggestion to women with PCOS is to reap the benefits of both types of cardio. If you want to stay lean and healthy, you cana€™t go wrong with using a combination of HIIT workouts and moderate intensity cardio workouts.I recommend doing one or two 20-30 minute HIIT workouts each week.
Youa€™ll have to decide whata€™s best for you based off how often you strength train and how quickly you recover from intense exercise.
You should be able to carry on a light conversation during this workout.No matter what type of exercise you are doing, please remember that it is a tool you are using to enhance the quality of your life. Challenge yourself and allow yourself to recover, but never punish yourself or push yourself too far!Love exercise, love food and love yourself!Thanks, Erika!
We all know that exercise is crucial to managing our PCOS symptoms but we struggle with finding the time, motivation or even knowing what kinds of exercise to do.
It makes me feel really great, helps in balancing my moods a little more and it has made a difference in my body composition as well.Thanks for the post ?Y™‚Shanti, Bethanie (reply) January 5, 2015 ErikaYou’re most welcome!

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