September is Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness (PCOS) awareness month. According to the PCOS Awareness Association PCOS affects over 10 million women in the world. I am one of the 10 million women affected by PCOS. Disc golf and the symptoms of PCOS became present in my life around the same time. They are both important to me, which is why I think other women with PCOS can benefit from playing disc golf.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is an endocrine disorder that typically causes disturbances in a women’s menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may go months without having their period. When it finally returns it usually lasts eight or more weeks. PCOS is different for every woman; some affected may have a regular cycle, but may not ovulate. For couples trying to make a family, the lack of ovulation can make this difficult. Even if ovulation does occur if cycles are not regular conceiving can be difficult.
Weight gain is common in women with PCOS. The old chicken or egg question may arise when dealing with PCOS and weight gain. Did I have PCOS because I gained weight in my 20’s or after having my first baby? Alternatively, did I always have PCOS even at a healthy weight, but now PCOS symptoms are showing more and making weight loss a challenge? Both are common scenarios of women with PCOS experience.
The weight gain that occurs often increases the risk of diabetes in women with PCOS. Insulin resistance is prevalent in women with PCOS and can, therefore, lead to added weight, difficulties losing weight, and diabetes.
Other symptoms that relate to appearances such as increased acne and hirsutism are common in women with PCOS. Hirsutism is when hair appears in places it typically doesn’t on a woman such as the face, stomach, and lower back. The opposite of excess hair growth can also be a problem, which would be losing hair from your head and male pattern baldness.
In addition to physical changes mentioned above, women with PCOS are more prone to depression, anxiety, mood swings, and headaches. Often these invisible symptoms can be even worse than the physical symptoms as they are easy to mask and bottle inside.
All of the factors listed above: inability to get pregnant, weight gain, acne, facial hair, hair loss, and increased headaches can undoubtedly contribute to depression and anxiety. Women with PCOS should not let PCOS and it’s symptoms control or get them down.
If you are feeling down, want to get in better shape, and meet new friends continue reading to see why you should play disc golf.
5 Reasons Women with PCOS Should Play Disc Golf
1.) Get Active Lose Weight
Disc golf is a low impact activity for people of any age. If you haven’t been too participating in any physical activity for a while disc golf is a walk in the park with a purpose. If you enjoy low impact exercise of walking but also like to play games, disc golf is the perfect activity. Disc golf could be the jump start to increased physical activity. Increased physical activity can lead to weight loss which can help control your PCOS symptoms.
2.) Nature Can Help With Depression
I don’t know about you, but whenever green spaces surround me I feel better. Disc golf is played in public parks and on private properties. Disc golf courses are always in a green space, some wide open and some filled with trees, moss, and ferns. If you are feeling depressed, or anxious getting out in nature often helps to lift your spirits.
3.) Meet Friends
Let’s face it as an adult meeting new friends can be a challenge. Once your are graduate from school, the only people we may interact with are family and co-workers. Depending on where you work, you may not have many co-workers. Or you may prefer to keep your work life separate from your private life. Disc golf women come from all walks of life and are some of the most welcoming people I have ever met. There are women’s disc golf leagues and Facebook groups in nearly every state. Finding a group of ladies to learn disc golf from is an excellent start to your new hobby, and new support system of friends!
4.) Take Your Mind Off PCOS
Picking up a new hobby that you can do alone or with friends is a great way to remind yourself that PCOS does not define who you are. Don’t let your mind spiral into focusing solely on your PCOS symptoms and how they affect your life.
5.) Challenge Yourself
I firmly believe getting out in nature can help with the depression-related symptoms of PCOS. Challenging yourself can also help with this. If you feel like you aren’t “athletic” and are nervous about play disc golf forget that thought. Disc golf is so much more than throwing a disc at a basket. Yes, good form will help, but you can always work to improve your skills and form. When you learn the basics of disc golf, you have challenged yourself to learn something new, and that always feels good. Once you have learned the basics of throwing a disc and start to play more, you will use mental strength to attack the course! Challenging yourself, you against the course and improving is a great way to boost your self-esteem and feel in control.
Take Control of PCOS and Discover a New You
PCOS often can seem like it runs our lives. It is a silent syndrome that many people may not realize you have, which can make it even more challenging. Adding a fun hobby like disc golf to your life can help remind you that PCOS is only one part of who you are and does not define you as a person.
If you are a woman with PCOS and have never played disc golf, please reach out to me. I am happy to provide resources on how to play disc golf, equipment needed, and I can even help you find some new disc golf friends.
If you are a woman who already plays disc golf and doesn’t have PCOS I thank you for taking the time to read this article. Hopefully, you learned something new, and perhaps you know someone who has PCOS that this article will help!