Comparison of aerobic exercise capacity and muscle strength in overweight women with and without polycystic ovary syndrome

R. L. Thomson, J. D. Buckley, L. J. Moran, M. Noakes, P. M. Clifton, R. J. Norman, G. D. Brinkworth

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44 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To assess maximal aerobic capacity () and muscle strength in overweight and obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and determine their relationship with metabolic and hormonal factors. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Clinical Research Unit. Population Overweight and obese women with PCOS (n = 10) and age-and weight-matched healthy controls (n = 16). Methods was measured during an incremental treadmill test and maximal isometric (ImS) and isokinetic knee extensor strength (IkS) (120°/second) were assessed by isokinetic dynamometry. Main outcome measures, ImS, IkS, waist circumference, blood lipids, glucose, insulin, insulin resistance (homeostatic model assessment [HOMA2]), C-reactive protein (CRP), hormonal profile. Results PCOS women had higher levels of testosterone and free testosterone (P ≤ 0.05), but there were no significant differences in any cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk markers between the groups. was similar in women with PCOS and healthy controls (PCOS 26.0 ± 4.1 ml/kg/minute, controls 25.7 ± 3.8 ml/kg/minute; P = 0.90), as was ImS (PCOS 1.50 ± 0.54 Nm/kg, controls 1.50 ± 0.47 Nm/kg; P = 0.96) and IkS (PCOS 1.04 ± 0.32 Nm/kg, controls 1.16 ± 0.23 Nm/kg; P = 0.32). was inversely related to waist circumference, insulin, HOMA2 and CRP. Waist circumference was inversely associated with ImS and IkS. No significant associations between exercise parameters and hormonal variables were identified. Conclusions Compared to age- and weight-matched healthy overweight and obese women with similar insulin resistance and CVD risk profiles, women with PCOS had similar aerobic capacity and muscle strength. This suggests PCOS, at least in the absence of an adverse metabolic profile is unlikely to limit physical function. Larger studies examining the effects of PCOS on exercise tolerance in a diverse range of PCOS phenotypes is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1242-1250
Number of pages9
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Exercise tolerance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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