Exercise When Trying To Conceive With PCOS
Posted by Christina Pistotnik
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can present along a spectrum of numerous signs and symptoms that some people exhibit, while others may not.
The symptoms can include irregular menstrual cycles, high levels of male hormones (androgens/testosterone), acne, excessive hair growth on the body, head hair loss, insulin resistance, difficulty losing weight, and infertility.
However, the biggest component that contributes to infertility in people with PCOS is anovulation (lack of ovulation), due to insulin resistance. This is when cells do not respond efficiently to insulin, making it more difficult for the body to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. This in turn leads to anovulation because higher blood glucose levels cause the ovaries to produce too much testosterone, which interferes with the development of the follicles and prevents normal ovulation.
The relationship between physical activity, higher BMI, and insulin resistance associated with PCOS has been studied extensively, and one review showed improved ovulation, weight loss, and insulin resistance with moderate exercise for 12- to 24-week exercise programs (1).
- If you are of average BMI or higher, and are sedentary (not exercising):
- You should be doing light to moderate exercise at least 3x/week but no more than 5x/week.
- If you are exercising at least 3-5x/week:
- Maintain this and do not exceed 5x/week of exercise, especially if it is higher intensity exercise.
Types of Exercises Best Suited to PCOS (do one or the other, not both in the same week):
- Resistance exercise 3x/week for 45 minutes per session.
- Vigorous exercise 75 minutes/week, which can include high intensity interval training (HIIT) but for no longer than 20 minutes each time.
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