Two things to practice for good health if you are living with PCOS

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Are you the 1 in 7 Australian women diagnosed with PCOS? 

 

It is not uncommon to come across someone living with PCOS – but what are some practices to put in place to prevent unhealthy weight gain, improve the symptoms and reduce the risks of disease development, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease?

 

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary (ovarian) syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder where there is an imbalance of insulin and androgens. These hormones have a role in many functions in your body (growth, energy, sexual function, reproduction, digestion and temperature).

 

Around 85% of all women with PCOS have ‘insulin resistance,’ where your body’s cells stop responding normally to insulin, resulting in more glucose (blood sugar) levels flowing in the bloodstream instead of being stored away. The body now thinks there is no insulin so it creates more. More insulin leads to ore production of androgens such as testosterone in the ovaries which may cause excessive body hair growth, acne and irregular periods.

 

So, how do we combat these side effects?

Your answer is: a healthy lifestyle of 

  1. nutritious foods and 
  2. physical activity!

 

It is recommended that women with PCOS eat small portions regularly to help stabilise their insulin levels (every 3-4 hours). Meals should contain a good balance of protein, high-fibre, unrefined/low GI carbohydrates and good fats (and don’t forget plenty of vegetables and fruit!).


Complement this with regular physical activity to manage androgen production which will in turn, improve insulin resistance, increase energy levels, improve self-esteem, improve menstrual health and reduce anxiety/depression. These benefits are seen even without weight loss from exercise! 

Managing weight is a very important component to managing PCOS. It is recommended for women with PCOS who want to prevent weight gain and maintain health do a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous activity or a combination of both and include muscle strengthening activities at least 2 times a week. STart with 20-30 minutes a day and build it up, and the most important thing is to do what you enjoy!

Unsure where to start?
Start by seeking the right professions to help guide you to a healthy, informed lifestyle. Look for the advice of a registered dietician in your area that specialises in women’s health and PCOS management, and pair that up with an accredited exercise physiologist to help you with a tailored exercise program (because not all women living with PCOS are built the same!).

 

Don’t let PCOS take control of you! Here at Exercise For Life, we are committed to giving you the best care possible when you come to see us for all your health needs, including women’s health. For more information, visit our website or contact us directly on 9371 8563 or health@exercsieforlife.com.au.

 

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