Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid or low thyroid, is a disorder of the endocrine system in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Many disorders result in hypothyroid, which may directly or indirectly involve the thyroid gland. Because thyroid hormone affects growth, development, and many cellular processes, inadequate thyroid hormone has widespread consequences for the body.
Risks of untreated hypothyroidism:
People with untreated hypothyroidism are at increased risk for:
Giving birth to a baby with birth defects
Iron deficiency anemia
hypothyroidism can affect the heart muscle’s contraction and increase the risk of heart failure in people with heart disease
Depression (common in hypothyroidism) can be severe. Hypothyroidism should be considered as a possible cause of chronic depression, particularly in older women. Untreated hypothyroidism can, over time, cause mental and behavioral impairment and, eventually, even dementia
Impact of exercise on Hypothyroidism
An individual may not experience any symptoms of hypothyroidism until the disease progresses. In fact, feeling increasingly fatigued, particularly during physical activity, may be one of the first signs of the condition that you initially ignore. In addition to fatigue and sluggishness, other symptoms of the disorder that can affect your ability to exercise include general weakness and unintentional weight gain-despite a normal diet and exercise. You may also experience depression, the result of which may lower your motivation to engage in exercise and other normal activities.
Hypothyroidism can trigger muscle and joint pain and can leave you feeling fatigued and depressed. A regular exercise routine can reduce many of these symptoms.
Unless your doctor advises you against certain activities, but still the following activities may be especially helpful for hypothyroidism.
Muscle building and strengthening:
Hypothyroid lowers body’s resting metabolic rate, people with this condition are more liable to gain weight and suffer secondary problems caused by obesity. Building muscle through strength training can counteract these effects. Building muscle mass, either by lifting weights or with exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups, can reduce any feelings of sluggishness or lethargy. Having a higher muscle mass increases your resting metabolic rate, which can help counter any weight gain and pains caused by hypothyroidism.
Obesity can reduce a person’s response to exercise. These individuals may find it harder to develop skeletal muscle proteins in response to exercise. The reasons for this are unclear, but it’s possible that underlying hormonal deficiencies, including hypothyroidism, may be to blame.
Improve Cardiovascular strength:
Hypothyroidism has been correlated with a higher risk of cardiac arrhythmias, or an irregular heartbeat. Improving your cardiovascular health with regular exercise can help protect your heart.
Maintain healthy Joints:
The common problem seen with hypothyroidism is the loss of bone density. To keep joints strong, you need exercise for endurance which increases your overall strength and improves your stamina. This allows your muscles to handle more stress. Swimming and cycling are some of the activities that can help you build up your endurance without putting too much pressure on your joints.
Relief from depression:
Focusing your mind and body on something other than your problems is obviously going to make you feel better — at least for a little while. Exercise also seems to change your brain chemistry for the better. Studies have found that working out gives you a shot of serotonin, the same brain chemical that antidepressant medications try to promote. On a basic level, getting stronger, healthier and leaner will help you feel better about yourself.
Lose weight with low impact exercise:
Taking the right dosage of medication for hypothyroidism can help relieve other symptoms but, it won’t lead to instant weight loss. Low-impact exercise gives a calorie-burning workout, the perfect complement to your weight-loss plan. Low-impact exercises are less stressful on your joints compared to high-impact activities such as running and jumping rope. Low-impact aerobic activities are recommended if you’re brand new to exercise, but also if you’re overweight, pregnant or have an injury or chronic condition such as osteoporosis that makes high-impact activity risky. So losing weight becomes essential to many, both to help boost self-esteem and to reduce any added stress on joints. Physical therapists encourage low-impact cardiovascular exercises, such as cycling, elliptical training, swimming, and walking.
How over exercise impacts the Hypothyroid
It’s understood that exercise is an important, if not critical, part of staying healthy. Less understood is that even if one appears to be in good physical health, over exercise or regularly overexerting one’s body causes more harm than good, especially when one is experiencing thyroid dysfunction. However, it is also important to lead an active lifestyle to keep the body and thyroid working as intended. So how do we protect ourselves from overdoing physical activity while also exercising regularly?
A common issue connected to over exercising is an inappropriately high rate of activity. If you are experiencing symptoms of over exercise, try reducing the number of workout routines done on a weekly basis. High intensity, high stress activities should only be done two to three times a week. In part, exercise frequency is so impactful because it cuts into resting time and it reduces its efficacy. Sleep disturbances often accompany over exercise. Physical activity influences energy metabolism in human subjects by increasing activity-induced energy and controlling metabolic rate for several hours after exercise
Hypothyroidism reduces exercise capacity but after hormone replacement with thyroxine exercise capacity can be attained back. After being euthyroid (to normal thyroid limit) on hormone replacement regular physical exercise can improve thyroid function and thus improve mental and physical status of hypothyroid patient. So every young to middle aged hypothyroid patient should do regular physical exercise to improve his/her thyroid status.