Medically reviewed by
Natalie Bessom D.O. Board-certified family medicine doctor with specialty training in nutrition, USA
When living with a thyroid condition it can be challenging to exercise and incorporate movement into your daily life. However, exercise can help alleviate symptoms associated with various thyroid conditions and improve the condition.
Medication prescribed by your doctor for certain thyroid conditions is a great way to help regulate thyroid function. But in combination with daily movement proves very beneficial to your health! Always discuss new exercises you implement into your routine with your doctor for their professional advice.
The Benefits of Exercise on Thyroid Health
- Regulating our metabolism and increasing energy
- Preventing weight gain
- Improving overall mood
- More restful sleep
- Improving bone density and muscle strength
Our thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones that regulate our metabolism, when you have a thyroid condition your production of these hormones is hindered and this dysregulates your metabolism. Our metabolism dictates our energy levels and for those of us with thyroid conditions, it causes low energy, fatigue and weight gain. Making it hard to exercise.
The hormones can also cause a negative effect on our mood since our thyroid gland also helps in the regulation of neurotransmitters (communicates between our nerves and brain). Neurotransmitters of those with thyroid conditions become dysregulated leading to poor mood, anxiousness, and even depression.
The fatigue experienced by our dysregulated metabolism caused by irregular thyroid function can cause poor sleep at night. If you are suffering from poor sleep caused by your thyroid condition exercise may help by increasing metabolism levels and energy.
When our metabolism is dysregulated and working slower, due to an underactive thyroid, and produces less energy, we feel pain in our musculoskeletal system to feel pain and other associative symptoms. This can over time lead to decreased bone density, muscle strength, arthritis, and myopathy or muscle disease. There is also potential for fluid bulbs to form within joints causing swelling associated with joint pain. With the increase in metabolism function from exercise we can prevent such symptoms occurring from our thyroid conditions.
Exercises for Thyroid Health
When first starting, go slow and find something you enjoy. It’s important to start with low-impact, easy-to-do exercises and move up from there. Start with 30 minutes of daily exercise and see how it goes.
Yoga is a super easy beginner-friendly exercise that can be built up over time into more impactful workouts using bodyweight exercises. You can easily get started with YouTube videos or a beginner-friendly class. The benefits of yoga include core strength, cardio, flexibility, full-body stretching, and balance. It allows for mindfulness, stress release, and mental clarity as well. Performing some yoga exercises is also a great way to get restful sleep.
Walking is another low-impact beginner- friendly exercise that you can do anywhere. You can set your own pace, whether you’re in the mood for a calming stroll or a light jog. Slow things down or speed things up. Walking helps alleviate stress and create endurance.
Pilates is a little more challenging than yoga but incorporates the same principles of core strength, breath work and mindfulness. This exercise improves your flexibility using bodyweight exercises.
Cycling is a great exercise to improve cardiovascular health that allows you to go at your own pace. You can choose to take your bike out on a ride through the neighborhood or use a stationary bike. There are lots of fun interactive cycling classes as well.
Strength training is a great form of exercise to build up to. It requires good form and core strength and helps in muscle strengthening as well as improving bone density. Start with free weights and build up your strength. Use all muscle groups on your body for the most impact on your health.
Other Exercises to Try Out
- Jumping rope
- Elliptical machine
- Dance classes
- Tai Chi
- Body Weight exercises
Managing your thyroid health on top of your general health can sometimes be overwhelming, especially with the amount of stress you might experience. If you’re looking for answers or curious about what other people with thyroid conditions are using – head over to the ThyForLife News & Community section!
There you can ask and answer questions anonymously with other community members, participate in daily polls and discussions, and gain access to more medically reviewed content like this article.
At ThyForLife, we do our utmost to provide accurate information. If you require more detailed information regarding medical terms, conditions, and practices please consult your healthcare professional. Always listen to the advice of your healthcare provider.