How strength training can help improve thyroid function

Jul 13, 2022

When you have Hashimoto’s symptoms such as joint pain and fatigue, exercising can be the absolute last thing you feel like doing. And while it won’t replace your medication, regular strength training is a vital part in improving and managing your symptoms. 


First of all it’s important to note that you should speak with your doctor and get the all clear to begin exercising - you first need to heal your adrenals and lower inflammation before you can begin to focus on exercise. It will also be safer to speak with a personal trainer who knows the challenges you have to deal with.


Exercise and keeping active has a whole range of benefits, even more so when it comes to battling the symptoms of hypothyroidism.


When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which can boost your mood. It improves your cardiovascular health - that is, it makes your heart stronger - which helps your blood circulate oxygen and in turn generally decreases feelings of fatigue.That’s important, because fatigue is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, and can make you feel sluggish. Exercise helps to combat exhaustion. Do you ever get a boost of energy after a brisk walk or workout? Yep, that’s the beauty of exercise!


Exercising and building strong muscles lift the stress off your joints. Stronger muscles therefore mean healthier joints, which means a reduced risk of joint pain - another common symptom.


Your thyroid levels need to be in the right range to maintain healthy bones, which has an impact on your bone structures. Strength training promotes bone health. When you do strength training, the stress that comes from pulling and pushing can activate your bone-forming cells. This means that over time your bones will become stronger and denser and you’ll be at less risk of developing osteoporosis.


Thyroid disease can also affect insulin levels. Because hypothyroidism can affect your metabolism, it can also in turn affect your insulin and blood sugar levels. Exercising uses the reserve sugar or glycogen stored in your muscles and liver. As your body rebuilds the reserves, it takes sugar from your blood. When you exercise regularly, it helps your body use insulin more efficiently. This can lower your blood sugar levels for up to 12 hours after you exercise. 


Keeping your blood sugar low on a regular basis can also dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease.


Remember to start slow, especially if you are new to exercise, haven’t exercised in a long time, or if you have severe symptoms. It’s better to start with shorter sessions and lower intensities and build up from there. Start by using your bodyweight as a general rule and build confidence by mastering the movements. 


You should make time for a little bit of movement almost every day, even if it’s a short walk around the block. Simply by moving, you boost blood flow and endorphins, and you also help to ease pain.


The most important thing when exercising is to Make sure that you listen to your body. Symptoms vary from person to person, and therefore your experiences when you exercise. You need to find the right level for you. 


Exercise won’t cure your thyroid issues. Exercise will however make you feel stronger, more energetic and healthier.