Best weight loss exercises for hypothyroidism


Your metabolism takes a hit when your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. When metabolism slows down, the number of calories that your body burns reduces and it leads to weight gain. Even though hypothyroidism and weight gain are connected, you can still burn calories by exercising and moving around while performing your daily activities at home or office. An expert suggests effective weight loss exercises for people with a thyroid issue.

The burden of thyroid diseases is significant in India, as per a 2011 study published in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. It has been estimated that approximately 42 million people in the country suffer from thyroid diseases, including hypothyroidism.

Woman with weight scale
Hypothyroidism and weight gain are connected. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the best weight loss exercises for people with thyroid?

Many women with hypothyroidism consider weight loss a challenge due to the impact of thyroid hormones on metabolism and energy regulation, says fitness expert Anushka Singh. Here are some exercises you can do:

1. Walking

Start walking with a brisk pace for at least 30 minutes a day. You can incorporate intervals of increased speed to boost intensity.

2. Swimming

If you are in a city where you don’t get to experience winter, you can engage in swimming sessions for around 30 to 45 minutes. Mix strokes like freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke for variety, suggests the expert.

3. Strength training

Exercises like squats, lunges and bicep curls are some good options. Aim for two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions with moderate weights.

4. Yoga

Practice yoga poses such as downward dog, warrior sequences and sun salutations, and as you do these asanas, focus on controlled movements and mindful breathing.

Woman doing yoga
You can do yoga to lose weight. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

5. Cycling

Cycling at a moderate pace for about 30 to 45 minutes can be helpful. You can either go for stationary bikes or enjoy outdoor cycling.

4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Perform short bursts of intense exercises such as jumping jacks and burpees followed by brief rest periods. Start with 15 to 20 minutes, and then gradually increase intensity, says Singh.

Tips to lose weight with hypothyroidism

1. Optimise medication

Make sure you are taking thyroid medication as prescribed by your doctor and undergoing regular check-ups to adjust dosage if necessary.

2. Balanced nutrition

Eat well and focus on a balanced diet rich in whole foods, including lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You need to find a balance between the calories you consume and the ones you burn off every day. You can consult with a nutritionist for a personalised advice.

3. Monitor iodine intake

Be mindful of iodine intake, as excessive or insufficient amounts can impact the thyroid function. Take help of a healthcare professional for personalised recommendations.

4. Regular exercise

Exercise contributes to a healthy metabolism, supporting the body’s ability to efficiently utilise energy and maintain a healthy weight. But working out should not only be about aerobic exercises. It should also include strength training exercises, which can enhance muscle strength and endurance, aiding in overall physical function. Also, gradually increase intensity to accommodate your fitness level.

Exercising should not be skipped, as it stimulates the release of endorphins. This in turn promotes a positive mood. Regular physical activity also helps to improve energy levels and combat fatigue, a common symptom in thyroid disorders. So, weight loss is not the only benefit you can enjoy by working out. However, you also need to pay attention to your medicines and diet.

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