Exercises for Hyperthyroidism

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.

Weight-bearing exercise is sometimes recommended for hyperthyroidism. (Image: Westend61/Westend61/GettyImages)

Along with a hyperthyroidism diet and exercise, medication is an important part of managing hyperthyroidism. The Office on Women's Health 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.

What is Hyperthyroidism?

According to the Office on Women's Health, there is more than one form of hyperthyroidism: Graves' disease, thyroiditis and toxic nodular goiter. Symptoms include increased perspiration, fast heartbeat, trouble sleeping, confusion, fatigue and enlargement of the thyroid gland.

In addition, you might experience weight loss despite increased appetite and muscle weakness, according to the Mayo Clinic. Doctors can perform blood tests to detect hyperthyroidism and sometimes use ultrasound and thyroid scan to help make a diagnosis.

Hyperthyroidism and Exercise Intolerance

After hyperthyroidism has been diagnosed and well-managed, with the help of your doctor, you can start thinking about exercise. 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.

However there is a link between hyperthyroidism and exercise intolerance as well. According to an article published in the October 2016 issue of Endocrinology & Metabolism International Journal, physical exercise, particularly at heavy intensities, can increase inflammation throughout the body, which can impact function of the thyroid gland. Be sure to discuss your exercise plans with your doctor for proper monitoring.

General Exercise Recommendations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers general exercise guidelines for people looking to maintain a healthy weight. First on the list is aerobic exercise — a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise per week. The best aerobic exercises engage the large muscles of your body, which could include taking a dance class, biking or swimming.

Include strength training at least twice 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 push-ups and sit-ups. Remember to include weight-bearing activities to help prevent osteoporosis, such as walking and stair climbing.

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.

Yoga can help ease anxiety and insomnia for people with Grave's disease. Tai chi, which is a type of martial art that consists of fluid, dance-like moves, can be done to balance and strengthen a person's energy.

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