Does Exercise Affect Thyroid Function?

Updated at: Feb 11, 2013
Does Exercise Affect Thyroid Function?

Exercises are said to be helpful in most ailments and so is the case for thyroid function, here is a take on the subject. Find out what effects exercises have on the functioning of your thyroid gland.

Arka Roy Chowdhury
ThyroidWritten by: Arka Roy ChowdhuryPublished at: Oct 22, 2012

Does Exercise Affect Thyroid Function

While exercise benefits people physically and mentally, it is now known that  strenuous physical exercises can have an adverse effect in the functioning of your thyroid. The thyroid gland produces iodothyronine hormones, known as T3, and thyroxine hormones known as T4 and any disturbance can make it over-produce (hyperthyroidism) and under-produce (hypothyroidism) these hormones.


[Read: Exercises for Hyperthyroidism]


The Good Effects of Exercise


Moderate exercising for the thyroid gland can prove to be an added benefit for you.  Researchers have found that exercises reduce the symptoms of thyroid disorders along with an increased circulation of thyroid hormones. This happens largely due to the increased blood flow and thus improves the metabolic rate. There are other common ailments which are associated with thyroid disorders and regular exercise can improve these, such as stress reduction,  minimising the chances of weight gain, and increasing your energy levels.


[Read: Tips to Prevent Hypothyroidism]


The Trouble with Exercises


Exercising is related to thyroid function because of the fatigue you experience after doing heavy exercises; also your joints and muscles will ache relatively more than it does in healthier individuals. Your respiration can be impaired, which may lead to short supplies of oxygen, and muscles experience a hard time strengthening in response to strenuous activity/workout.


To keep your thyroid working in a proper manner you need to build up your stamina. You must not do high intensity workout right away. This will make sure that your thyroid hormone dose remains adequate, which you can check by following up blood retests that helps monitoring the dose. The thyroid syndromes (discussed above)affect your ability to perform physical activity . Hypothyroidism leaves you feeling mentally and physically sluggish after exercise and attempts to exercise are further complicated by weight gain, sore joints and constant fatigue. At first, you may think that hyperthyroidism is advantageous for exercise because of the increased metabolism rate. You must however understand that abnormally high amounts of thyroid hormones may result in irregular heartbeat, heart failure, brittle bones and eye problems.


[Read: How to Take Care During Hyperthyroidism]


The Effect of Exercises


According to a study published in December 2005 in "Neuroendrocrinology Letters", the exercise that you perform at the anaerobic threshold (at 70 per cent maximum heart rate) causes the most dramatic rises in the rates of T3 and T4, but when the maximum heart rate reaches 90 per cent, levels of T3 start to fall, Another study published on by Greg Kelly, ND, stated that in female non-athletes the T3 hormone levels  increased after exercise but decreases following exercise in female athletes. Evidence suggests that when an athlete's exercising exceeds his/her caloric intake, then that can cause low levels of T3 hormones.

Exercises can have a mixed effect on you, as far as the thyroid gland is considered. Try and do moderate exercises, and consult a doctor to know if doing so would suit you.


Read more articles on Understand Hypothyroidism




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