Our thyroid gland plays a significant role in determining our body functions. Having been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I got really upset two years back. However, with proper exercises, I have managed all the symptoms including weight gain. I have laid out the Here are the 9 Best Weight Loss Exercises for Hypothyroidism, so that you can start your own plan.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism refers to a very common physical condition related to the performance of the thyroid gland. In this condition, the thyroid gland cannot produce the adequate thyroid hormone that our body needs. As a result, our metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature may fluctuate.
This condition is the most frequently found in older people, especially women. Some of the common symptoms that can signify hypothyroidism are cold sensitivity, fatigue, dry skin, constipation and weight gain.
Though the extreme level of this condition may require a thyroid gland transplant, mild to moderate levels can be controlled with medicines, diet and exercise. Overall, the patients need a lifestyle change once diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
The thyroid gland is located in our neck, and it has plenty of functions. This large ductless gland secretes two hormones known as triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which control our metabolism and growth of the body.
A steady amount of these hormones are required in our bloodstream to maintain our overall health. Some of the body functions that depend on the secretion of these hormones are muscle strength, breathing, bone strength, menstrual cycles, energy, the central nervous system, along with the functions I’ve mentioned above.
So, basically, hypothyroidism means a significant lack of thyroid gland hormones.
Why is Exercise Important for Hypothyroidism?
One of the common side effects of hypothyroidism is unexpected weight gain. Since a lack of thyroid hormones lead to slower metabolism, weight gain becomes rapid and uncontrollable.
You gain weight when you eat more calories, and in this case, even if you eat the right calories, your digestion process becomes too slow. In poor metabolism, your body burns calories very slowly. As a result, some calories get stored in our body as fat.
Now, weight gain is not a healthy thing unless you are underweight. It can make your health condition even worse if you have hypothyroidism. Hence, exercise is important in order to lose weight in hypothyroidism.
Secondly, many people grow anxiety and depression during hypothyroidism. Exercise can calm the mind and help people to stay motivated all the time. For all these reasons, I think exercise should be a priority when you have hypothyroidism.
Is it Possible to Lose Weight with Hypothyroidism?
Yes, of course, it’s possible to lose weight with hypothyroidism. However, you also need to make sure that you change your diet as well if you want to get the best results.
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If you are diagnosed with an underactive thyroid hormone, you need to avoid inflammatory foods such as white bread, pastries, french fries, red meat, processed meat, margarine, soda, and sweetened or flavored beverages.
Also, you need to know which exercises are good for hypothyroidism and for how long you need to practice them daily. Finally, you need to stick to your exercise and diet regime quite strictly to make things work. I am going to explain these factors below so that you can plan accordingly.
Here is an awesome video that expounds on weight Loss exercises for hypothyroidism:
How can I Lose Weight Fast with Hypothyroidism?
As I’ve mentioned above, exercise along with a healthy diet is the key to weight loss when you have hypothyroidism.
I will talk about the exercises below but before that, let me explain to you what does a healthy diet refers to.
Here are some easy tips that you need to follow if you want to lose weight fast with hypothyroidism:
- Avoid Sugar and Carbs: A low-carb diet that includes only complex carbs such as legumes and starchy vegetables is the best option when it comes to planning your meals. Next, you need to totally avoid sugar from your coffee and milk. You can go for natural sweeteners instead of sugar in your desserts and beverages.
- Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods: I’ve already given you a few examples of inflammatory foods. But what would be some good anti-inflammatory foods? Well, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B, vitamin C, iron and selenium are some important macronutrients that have anti-inflammatory properties. You can include foods rich in these nutrients to reduce weight faster.
- Check your Portion: It is essential to eat small portions of meals after every two to three hours instead of having large portions at a time. That’s because of your low metabolism due to hypothyroidism. You can eat different types of meals five to six times a day to stay healthy.
- Take Medication: If your doctor prescribes you some medicine for hypothyroidism, it is important to take those as directed on a regular basis. Usually, the doctors recommend taking the medicines daily on an empty stomach with a glass of water.
How Much Should I Exercise with Hypothyroidism?
How much you should exercise depends upon multiple factors such as your age and your physical condition. If you are exercising for the first time, you need to have a lot of patience because you are going to start very slowly.
You can begin with a ten minutes session daily and gradually increase it to half an hour or one hour. If you like exercising and can do more, you can do that by consulting your physical trainer. For further information, you can read a few online articles that focus on weight loss in hypothyroidism.
Best Weight Loss Exercises for Hypothyroidism
I started with a fifteen minutes session of daily exercises, but now I have increased the time to one hour. I generally work out twice a day, a half an hour session in the morning and the other in the evening.
You can either follow my plan or make your own according to your convenience. But make sure the plan is a little flexible and easy to follow.
Aerobic exercises are the ones that increase your heart rate and the oxygen use of your body. These are simple and safe exercises for people of all ages.
It is one of the most simple exercises for elderly people, and it doesn’t require any equipment apart from a pair of running shoes. You can begin your exercise regime by walking short distances no matter how unfit you think you are at the moment. Then, you can try to gradually increase the distance and speed after one or two weeks.
When you are able to take your exercise plan to the next level, jogging or running will be the best options. To try jogging for the first time, do not increase your pace at the beginning. Instead, do it as slow as it makes you comfortable. Then, you can increase the pace and convert it into a running session. Since running accelerates the heartbeat, stop when you think you want to take a break.
If you are interested in running indoors, have a look at my XTERRA Fitness TR300 Folding Treadmill Review as a indoor running option.
It’s the perfect cardiovascular exercise to tone your hamstrings, core and arms muscles. The best aspect of cycling is that it puts less strain on the knees than running or jogging. You can choose any bicycle for this exercise, be it a traditional one, a stationary bike, or a mountain bike. Since cycling is a gentler exercise than running, you will be able to do it longer.
As a full-body exercise, swimming has no comparison with the other exercises. For hypothyroidism, swimming is one of the best aerobic exercises you can try. If you already know swimming, you can plan for a half-an-hour session and then increase it later. You can also use a kickboard as that’ll help you to work on the legs.
Community centers, recreation studios, and professional dance studios organize dancing programs for people of all ages. If you like dancing, simply get enrolled on any of these sessions by choosing your favorite style. Ballroom dancing, salsa and tap dancing are some excellent options among others.
Have you ever imagined that maintaining your garden can help you to maintain a fit and healthy body? Well, there are some garden activities that make it possible. Pushing a lawnmower can be a perfect exercise for beginners because it’s an interesting activity that many people enjoy who love gardening.
Strength Building Workouts
These are the ones that build your muscles and increase your metabolism to help you lose a significant amount of weight. Apart from elevating your quality of life, strength-building workouts can also improve your participation in daily activities.
Though these exercises are a little tougher than aerobic exercises, you will get accustomed to the movements within a few weeks for sure. However, it is essential to consult a trainer for these exercises if you are a beginner.
- Body Resistance Exercises
These exercises use your body as the medium of resistance. Hence, you don’t need any special equipment to try them at home. Push-ups, abdominal crunches, sit-ups and leg squats are some good options among others.
- Resistance Band Exercises
Resistance bands are basically rubber bands that are stretchable and quite heavy-duty. You can choose among a plethora of options but I would recommend the ones that come with padded handles. You need to stretch them by pulling them to perform a set of exercises.
- Weight Lifting
These exercises include weight machines and free weight and there are plenty of them. Some examples of weight machines are chest press and hammer strength with weighing scales whereas dumbbells, barbells are some examples of free weight equipment. Depending upon which muscles you want to work on and how much weight you want to lose, you can choose these exercises.
Now that you know the best exercises for weight loss with hypothyroidism, go ahead and make the most of them. However, make sure you consult a doctor before starting your exercise and diet plan. Also, drinking plenty of water is essential to boost your performance to the fullest. I hope my weight loss experience will help you to analyze your body’s requirements better.