Exercise Helps PCOS Sufferers

Diet & Exercise, What the Doctors Recommend

It is a well documented fact that weight loss is a vital component in health and wellbeing and serves as a healing factor in many diseases.  For women with polycystic ovary syndrome, exercise has been the major recommendation given by doctors for symtom relief.  Positive results have been obtained through lifestyle changes such as reducing stress, diet and exercise and the support of others in a group setting. 

One of the prevalent accompanying diseases found in women with PCOS is diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes.   It is encouraging to know that associated with a decrease of only 5% of a woman's total body weight there is a decrease in insulin levels which helps to make diabetes much more controllable.  Another benefit is a lowering of incidences of heart disease.  Since both diabetes and heart disease are linked to unhealthy weight, which is one of the many symptoms of PCOS, women can lower their risk in these areas with healthy diet and exercise.

Insulin Sensitivity

In the US alone, between six and 10 percent of women of childbearing age are affected with PCOS and these women often have chronic weight issues.  Research done at Duke University Medical Center has indicated that moderate exercise can improve insulin sensitivity in women with PCOS.  Important health benefits are experienced through exercise whether there is weight loss or not.  Ann J. Brown, lead author of the study at Duke University said, "Anything that improves insulin sensitivity and decreases insulin resistance is going to help prevent diabetes in the long run."

For the Duke study, women were chosen from diverse ethnic groups, aged between 22 and 41 years, and all were insulin resistant.  The 19 women were assigned at random to either a control group in which their sedentary lifestyle continued, or a monitored exercise group.  The exercise program, moderate in intensity, was the equivalent of a four day a week, one hour per day, walking program.  The women had to maintain their diet patterns and were instructed not to lose weight while the study was conducted in order to ensure focus on the role of exercise as it relates to insulin resistance.

A significant, albeit small, improvement in insulin resistance was noted in the exercise group with improvement registered by up to 25 percent, dependent upon test type.

Women with PCOS can enjoy a better quality of life by managing their diet and by including exercise as a part of their regular routine.

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