The thyroid gland may be small but it plays a big role in how well your body functions. That is because the thyroid produces a hormone that regulates your metabolism, the process which converts everything you drink and eat into energy. However, when your metabolism slows, causing you to lose weight and feel sluggish and fatigued, you may have an underactive thyroid, medically referred to as hypothyroidism.
How can hypothyroidism affect your body?
Decreased levels of the thyroid hormone can lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol, or fat, in your blood. The thyroid hormone helps the liver break down the cholesterol circulating in your blood and stimulates. Triglycerides and your LDL cholesterol may substantially increase whenever you don’t have enough of the thyroid hormone. What’s more, hypothyroidism may also negatively affect your mood. The thyroid gland helps regulate the chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, which your brain utilizes to communicate with your own nerves. These messengers can go haywire, causing one to feel anxious and depressed when your thyroid doesn’t function properly.
“The most important thing that you can do for hypothyroidism is to see your doctor and get on the right dose of thyroid hormone,” says R. Mack Harrell, MD, president-elect of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and an endocrinologist at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla..
Visiting your local healthcare professional’s office is a fundamental first step towards diagnosing and treating an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, but what can you do to help yourself? Add exercise on your list. Regular exercise is an important part of your overall strategy to manage hypothyroidism symptoms. Exercise can offset the effects of your sluggish metabolism and burns calories to prevent weight gain. A good fitness routine may be a mood-booster as well because while you exercise, your body releases endorphins and other substances.
The Hypothyroidism-Exercise Link
What is the best type of exercise for hypothyroidism? A program of high heeled aerobic exercises and strength training is recommended by Yaroslav Gofnung, MD, an endocrinologist at Los Robles Hospital in Thousand Oaks, Calif.. Low-impact aerobics get your heart rate up and your lungs moving without putting too much strain on your joints, which can be vital because joint pain is another common hypothyroidism symptom, Dr. Gofnung says.
A stationary reclining or recumbent bicycle and a low-impact elliptical machine are exceptional machine choices for cardio exercise. “Walking is a fantastic exercise too, as long as you don’t have swelling in your knees or ankles,” Gofnung adds. Additionally, Pilates or gentle yoga may improve core muscles and alleviate the spine and hip pain which could be associated with hypothyroidism.
Individuals with hypothyroidism can also benefit from strength training exercises, such as lunges, leg lifts, and push-ups while other people may benefit from other strength training exercises involving weight-training machines. Strength training builds muscle mass, and muscle burns more calories even when you’re at rest. Building muscle can help prevent potential weight gain from an underactive thyroid gland.
The Best Exercises for Hypothyroidism
For people with hypothyroidism, Igor Klibanov, a personal coach in Toronto, founder of Fitness Solutions Plus, and also writer of “Unlimited Progress: The Way To Unlock Your Body’s Potential,” recommends cardio along with a strength-training routine that incorporates these six exercises:
One-legged dead lift: Stand on one leg while holding onto something for balance (not for support). Keep one hand relaxed in front of your thighs. Push on your hips up as far as you can, until your hand touches the ground. Come back up. This ought to be felt at the buttocks muscles. The back shouldn’t curve; but does not have to be upright.
Squats: Stand up straight and then bend at your knees and hips till you are at a sitting position. Go all of the way down. (Klibanov says it’s a myth that this may damage your knees if you have healthy knees to start with.) .
Overhead press or comparable vertical push movement. Boost a set of dumbbells to shoulder height. So they are facing forward switch your arms. Lift up the dumbbells until your elbows are right. Then lower them back down.
Lat pull-down or similar vertical pull move. Catch a pull-down bar with an overhand grip (palms facing away), and pull it down into your collar bone. Make certain that that the bar travels near to your face as you can.
Push-up or comparable horizontal push movement. Place both hands on the floor, shoulder width apart. Feet must be extended out and together. Till you are close to the ground, Bend your elbows and shoulders. In case a push is too hard, do the same thing either together with your hands on a table (while feet stay on the ground) or a wall socket.
Rowing or similar horizontal pull move. Sit with your hands holding the grip that’s connected to the cable. Keep your back straight, and lean back about 10 to15 degrees. Pull on back the cable until your mid-stomach touches. Then release under control.
Start with 15 repetitions of each exercise and work up to around 20. “Most people with joint issues find these to be easy on the joints,” Klibanov says. When you’re starting out, it might take you 15 to 20 minutes to finish your routine. A eventual aim: Work up which should take about 40 to 45 minutes, he adds. Schedule aerobic exercise a few times a week and participate in strength training routines with these motions two to three days weekly, Klibanov recommends. Doing this can get you on the ideal track to feeling better and losing weight.
Ease Into Exercise
Start slowly and build up. “If you go too quickly, it is possible to injure yourself and set yourself back,” Gofnung warns. Choose exercises that you enjoy and that your body is able to tolerate to increase the probability of your sticking to your regular, ” he advises.
Adjust the number of repetitions as you progress. “In just two weeks, you’ll have another body and you should have a different pattern,” Klibanov states. And do not be timid about progressing, he adds, “The further out of shape you are, the faster progress will come.”
If something hurts, you may have to make a small change like the angle or position of an exercise or motion. If it hurts, stop and find another exercise that does not cause discomfort. If you’re having difficulty by yourself, invest with a trainer that will make recommendations in time and explain to you how you can lose weight through the exercises you select.
Always talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen. And never make exercise a substitute for thyroid drugs. With the right medication, you should feel better within a few weeks and have the motivation to get back to (or get into) a regular exercise regimen, Dr. Harrell says.
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By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Wellness
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