Exercise for thyroid diseases is important to restore insulin levels and improve metabolic function. Thyroid patients must turn to lifestyle changes such as exercise, alternative therapies or complementary medicine besides standard treatment to cope with symptoms of thyroid problems.
[Read: Yoga for Thyroid Problems]
Regular exercising helps improve cardiovascular system by stimulating production and secretion of thyroid hormones. A study published in Hormone Research found significant increase in basal thyroid hormone concentrations in the cyclists examined for thyroid levels. The aerobic activity increased the circulating levels of thyroxine, triiodothyronine and thyroid-stimulating hormone in the cyclists, improving their thyroid function.
According to The Hormone Foundation, exercises help in production and secretion of thyroid-stimulating hormones, which are controlled by the thyrotropin-releasing hormone, a hormone released by the hypothalamus. The activity streamlined the basal metabolic rate, bone growth, vitamin metabolism and the cells’ sensitivity to other hormones such as epinephrine besides protein synthesis to improve thyroid function.
Besides moderate cardiovascular exercises, strength and weight training exercises should be added to one’s routine if the doctor permits. These help tone muscles and improve bone strength, improving insulin resistance besides maintaining a healthy weight.
Exercising when suffering from a thyroid disease has several positive effects on the thyroid function, though thyroid disorders are characterised by intolerance to exercising. Therefore, a patient should always be careful.
A study published in Neuroendrocrinology Letters suggested that exercises performed at the anaerobic threshold (70 percent of maximum heart rate) increased the rates of T3 and T4. The levels of T3, however, began falling with the increase in exercise intensity beyond moderate level.
Medications or the standard treatment of most of the thyroid conditions can be complimented with exercise. According to the website Thyroid Health, hypothyroidism patients can cope with some symptoms such as weight gain, depression and low energy levels, while hyperthyroidism patients can deal with sleeplessness and low energy levels with regular exercise.
The thyroid conditions make individuals easily fatigued because they cause the muscles and joints to ache more than in a healthy individual. Moderate exercise is a must for a thyroid patient as respiration may become impaired or a heart problem may be triggered. Low intensity exercise, such as walking or running, is recommended for individuals with Graves' disease to prevent bone damage.
Thyroid patients are advised not to exercise without consulting a doctor as there is a high risk of shortness of oxygen supply and the muscles finding it difficult to strengthen.
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