Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Exercise is Essential...

Exercise is an essential key to managing PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). While there is no scientific proof that exercise helps those suffering with PCOS more than it helps the average person, common sense does tell us that since such a large number of women with PCOS are obese, exercise is vital to long-term health.

Our bodies were made to move. For thousands of years, human beings were nomadic, following or seeking out the food supply. Once we learned how to create our food supply, we were able to stay in one place. As time passed, we began to enjoy the benefits of advancing technologies, which provided us with more leisure time. We used our minds more and more, while using our bodies less and less.

Today we find ourselves in a modern life that actually demands very little of us physically. Although our bodies are still hard-wired for movement, most of us no longer honor the very real need of the "natural self" to get up and move about.

A number of studies have demonstrated that women with PCOS or insulin resistance can greatly benefit from regular exercise.

For example, a study conducted at the University of Adelaide in Australia showed that a six month program of diet and exercise helped 18 overweight PCOS women normalize their hormones.(1) They experienced an 11% reduction in central fat, 71% improvement in insulin sensitivity, 33% fall in insulin levels, and a 39% reduction in LH (luteinizing hormone) levels. The women in this study achieved surprising results with a combination of diet and exercise in just six months. This study is relevant because insulin resistance and chronically high insulin and LH are reasons why PCOS women don't ovulate and why they have a number of other troubling symptoms.

The best way to keep exercise fun and to help make sure that you stick to it is to get an exercise buddy, whether it's a friend or family member. This way, you can set goals and try to help each other achieve them. You can do tandem exercises like playing basketball or even a spirited game of catch. You can make a list of fun things do to so that every time you exercise, you’re doing something different and things don’t get repetitive and boring. Also, listen to your body. Don’t overdo things, and if you come back from a day out and you’re sore, it’s ok to take a day off until you feel better.

Don’t be afraid to try unorthodox methods of exercise. Going for a hike in the woods counts just as much as doing a workout tape in front of the TV. Ice skating is a fantastic aerobic workout and can be substituted for a long run. A night out dancing at a club instead of a bike ride works just fine. Don’t be afraid to try new things and keep your exercise routines fresh and exciting. Getting into a rut of doing the same few things over and over is the number one cause of people giving up on their exercise. The most important thing to remember is to just stay active, no matter what. Since PCOS sufferers are prone to obesity, you have to be extra vigilant with diet and exercise to stay in shape.