Hyperthyroidism is a medical disorder that causes the thyroid to be overactive. Those who suffer from this condition have a metabolism that works quickly, which can cause weight loss, irritability and heart palpitations that can cause discomfort. Along with diet and medication, exercise can be an important part of managing hyperthyroidism. Womenshealth.org warns that exercise can be more difficult for people with a thyroid disease, so it's important for you to talk with your physician before beginning any type of exercise.
According to Womenshealth.gov, there is more than one form of hyperthyroidism: Graves' disease, thyroiditis and toxic nodular goiter. Symptoms include increased perspiration, fast heartbeat, trouble sleeping, weakness, confusion, fatigue and enlargement of the thyroid gland. Doctors can perform blood tests to detect hyperthyroidism and sometimes use ultrasound and thyroid scan to help make a diagnosis.
Benefits of Exercise
After hyperthyroidism has been diagnosed and well-managed, with the help of your doctor, you can start thinking about exercise. DrBillofHealth.com suggests that exercise could be a therapeutic part of the treatment of hyperthyroidism. Thyroid disease is sometimes linked to osteoporosis. To help fight osteoporosis, which decreases the density of your bones, it's suggested that hyperthyroidism patients eat a healthy diet, take a calcium supplement and do some weight-bearing exercises.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends some exercises for patients with hyperthyroid disease. First on the list is aerobic exercise, which you can do up to five days per week for 30 to 60 minutes per day. The best aerobic exercises engage the large muscles of your body, which could include taking a dance class, biking or swimming. Do resistance training two or three days per week, with at least 48 hours between sessions that focus on the same muscles. Resistance exercises include using resistance bands, doing heavy gardening or doing body-weight exercises such as pushups and situps. Do weight-bearing activities to help prevent osteoporosis, including walking and stair climbing, suggests the National Institutes of Health.
Yoga, Meditation and Tai Chi
Some alternative activities you can try include yoga, meditation and Tai Chi. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, meditation can help patients cope with illness, increase calmness, improve psychological balance and improve overall health. Kathleen Summers, M.D. Ph.D., recommends yoga for people suffering from Graves' disease, to help ease anxiety and insomnia. Tai Chi, which is a type of martial arts that consists of fluid, dance-like moves, can be done to balance and strengthen a person's energy. The Lahey Hospital and Medical Center states that two controlled studies have shown that Tai Chi can help fight loss of bone density, which has been linked to hyperthyroidism.
- Dr. Bill of Health: Exercise for Thyroid Disorders (Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism)
- Womenshealth.gov: Thyroid Disease Fact Sheet
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Hyperthyroidism
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Exploring the Power of Meditation
- Lahey Hospital and Medical Center: Tai Chi
- the YogaDr.: Hyperthyroidism - Yoga for Graves Disease
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need?
- National Institutes of Health: Bone Health for Life
- Yale Medical Group: Hyperthyroidism
- ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; American College of Sports Medicine