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Can Exercise Increase Thyroid Function?

author image Meredith Crilly
Meredith C. has worked as a nutrition educator, chef and community health projects since 2011. She received a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from the University of Tennessee and is currently completing an MS/DI program in nutrition.
Can Exercise Increase Thyroid Function?
The thyroid gland exists in the neck and regulates metabolism and temperature. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Your body's metabolism depends on the amount of certain hormones in your body. The thyroid gland is located in the neck, and when active, it releases thyroid hormone that boosts the metabolism and also regulates body temperature. However, when the thyroid gland stops releasing thyroid hormone, the metabolism slows down, which causes fatigue and often weight gain. Research shows some effective ways to boost the thyroid gland.

Aerobic Exercise Boosts Thyroid Function

Can Exercise Increase Thyroid Function?
High intensity exercise increases thyroid function. Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Physical activity influences the metabolism and has also been proven to increase the rate at which a person burns calories during exercise and also after exercise. In a study performed with 60 male athletes, the men performed moderate to high intensity bicycling and their levels of thyroid hormone were measured before and after the workout. This study determined that during moderate-intensity exercise, the amount of thyroid hormone circulating in the body increased. During an aerobic activity, the thyroid gland is stimulated to produce higher amounts of the hormone.

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Ineffective Exercises For Thyroid

Can Exercise Increase Thyroid Function?
Yoga does not boost the thyroid gland. Photo Credit ULTRA F/Photodisc/Getty Images

While aerobic exercise boosts thyroid function, not all forms of exercise are equal. Lower-intensity exercise such as yoga do not boost thyroid function effectively. Comparing two groups of people who exercised for the same amount of time, showed that the group that took part in yoga had lower thyroid hormone while the group that took part in higher-intensity workouts had increased levels of thyroid hormone in their bodies.

How Much Is Enough?

Can Exercise Increase Thyroid Function?
Just a few minutes of moderate activity improves thyroid function. Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

If you have a sluggish thyroid, then how much exercise do you need? In studies, just three minutes of moderate bicycling was enough to increase the levels of thyroid hormone in the body. The intensity of the exercise is proportional to thyroid function. A flat-out sprint causes the greatest increase in thyroid hormone, but even a moderate jog or similar activity boosts the thyroid gland.

Regular Physical Exercise Necessary

Can Exercise Increase Thyroid Function?
Consistent exercise keeps your thyroid active. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Exercise boosts the thyroid function both during and also hours after exercise. However, without consistent exercise, the thyroid may continue to stop producing as much of this metabolism-boosting hormone. Regular physical exercise that is moderate in intensity ensures that your thyroid gland continues to produce enough thyroid hormone to keep your metabolism at a healthy level.

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