Can Exercise Increase Thyroid Function?

Doctor examining glands of throat of patient
The thyroid gland exists in the neck and regulates metabolism and temperature. (Image: 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

Young couple jogging in field, side view
High intensity exercise increases thyroid function. (Image: 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.

Ineffective Exercises For Thyroid

Young woman performing yoga pose in living room
Yoga does not boost the thyroid gland. (Image: 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?

Family riding bikes together
Just a few minutes of moderate activity improves thyroid function. (Image: 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

Woman on exercise bike
Consistent exercise keeps your thyroid active. (Image: 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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