Flip Your Script

John J. Schessler, Wellness Coach/Personal Trainer

The facts about PCOS and Women’s Fitness

PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, can bring a hand full of health issues that directly affect weight, hormonal levels, menstruation, etc. For the individual, it can feel like throwing darts at a dartboard with a blindfold on. Even with all of the associated health issues, a healthy diet and consistent exercise program do help improve the vast number of symptoms a woman can experience. Let’s take a quick three-minute look at the connection between PCOS, fitness and improved health.

PCOS Challenge: The National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association worked with U.S Representatives David Scott (GA-13) and Roger Marshall, M.D. (KS-1) and U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and David Perdue (GA) in the U.S. Congress to introduce Resolutions recognizing the seriousness of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and expressing support for the designation of the month of September 2019 as “PCOS Awareness Month” (H.Res.146).

Let’s look at the science for a minute. PCOS occurs due to the hypothalamus in the brain sending incorrect signals to the pituitary glad. This results in ovarian dysfunction, throwing progesterone, estrogen and other androgens out of whack. This makes trying to lost weight a slippery slope due to your hormone levels being all over the place.

PCOS and the Fitness Connection

Due to the drastic shift in hormone levels, this does make weight loss difficult because of the fact that PCOS is an insulin driven condition and can lend to weight gain, specifically around the abdominal area. Combined with poor eating habits, this can lead to Type-2 Diabetes and insulin resistance.

What does this mean for working out? Well, the first thing you’ll see improve you’ll see improve is your PCOS symptoms. Insulin resistance can cause you to carry extra weight but according to the NHS in the United Kingdom, if you have a high BMI, reducing body fat by just 5% can cause significant improvement in PCOS symptoms. Incorporating movement and integrating an exercise routing daily should a top priority and a part of your general lifestyle as well as eating a balanced diet. Studies have shown that strength training aids in improving with insulin resistance and adding a few sessions a week could mean managing PCOS symptoms but burning fat as well. HITT training is also a great way to manage your sensitivity to insulin through short, sharp bursts of energy.

You do want to exercise but you don’t want to over train either. Having a healthy balance is always the right way to go. Over training leads to increased levels of cortisol – the stress hormone and stress leads to increased chances of insulin resistance.

The best kind of exercise after going over the research is pretty consistent from study to study saying that the best kind of workouts for PCOS clients is moderate-intensity workouts. These types of workouts are typically three days a week for about thirty minutes at a time. Workouts like this are said to reduce insulin resistance and improve weight loss. Stress plays a major role for PCOS individuals and restorative exercises like walking or swimming can also help lower internal inflammation.

Regardless of your workout regime, movement is imperative to assist in managing the symptoms associated with PCOS. If you’re not sure as to what type of exercise program to start on, check with a medical professional about the safest route for you to take. Taking control over your health and wellness is on of the best things that any of us can do in ways of preventative measures as well as health management of current symptoms before they become unmanageable.

For more information on PCOS, please visit:

  1. UPMC of PIttsburgh, PCOS Summaryhttps://www.upmc.com/locations/hospitals/magee/services/obstetrics-and-gynecology/obstetrics/center-for-fertility-and-reproductive-endocrinology/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome?&utm_mrid=mrid0701&utm_source=GOOGLE&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=71700000037584018&utm_adgroup=58700004164184995&utm_term=pcos&utm_advertiserid=700000001754515&gclid=CjwKCAjw8sCRBhA6EiwA6_IF4ZS_fAQ1i2ky5MpMeMdZe4RI26DxGyFR6u8zuXfnlPgnqiAQizOG0hoCz38QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
  2. NHS Websitehttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/
  3. PCOS Awareness Symposium 2021https://pcoschallenge.org/symposium/philadelphia/?gclid=CjwKCAjw8sCRBhA6EiwA6_IF4WVpWHrVL1k8o-1Jzath5-VVFJJIVsncVZzdbOUg0oDJWDn4u8fxVxoCplUQAvD_BwE

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