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Hypothyroidism, Part 4: What Types of Exercise Can Help
October 16, 2013

Hyperthyroidism photo of Thyroid GlandThis is the fourth and final post in a series covering hypothyroidism and the various treatment options that we have at our disposal. Please feel free to email your thyroid-related questions to jproodian@naturalhc.com or post them in the comments section at the bottom of this post and I’ll be happy to answer them.

In Part 1 of our series on hypothyroidism, I provided an overview of the condition, including common causes and symptoms. Because we believe in an integrated approach to treating illness or disease, want you to become a little more familiar with a few of the tools we have in the Natural Healthcare Center shed for treating hypothyroidism.

In Part 2, I discussed how acupuncture can be used to treat hypothyroidism, thanks to contributions made by Lisa Abramson, one of our licensed acupuncturists at Natural Healthcare Center. Part 3 examined the role that clinical nutrition can play in regulating the thyroid. For the final post in our hypothyroidism series, let’s take a look at what kinds of exercise can help people with thyroid issues restore proper levels of hormone secretion.

Again, I’m thankful for the contributions of Dr. Oscar Coetzee, PhD to this post and everything we do at Natural Healthcare Center.

If you dig deeper into the stress hormones and how they’re impacted by exercise, you find that a person who does a significant amount of aerobic exercise or endurance training will eventually get to the point in which stress hormones such as cortisol become elevated.

As a result, we believe that burst training, or high-intensity interval training, is often the best approach to exercise for someone with a thyroid condition. With this type of training, which involves short bursts of intense physical activity with periods of rest between each burst, your body is able to go into a state of recovery. Dr. Coetzee and I have developed the Metabolic Fitness Program based on this approach to exercise.

Have you ever seen a fat cheetah? That’s because they sprint in short bursts. They don’t go for long distance runs of moderate intensity. Repetitive motion like long distance running not only stresses our joints, but also the very hormones that we’re trying to keep from activating, like cortisol, which should be preserved for “fight or flight.”

The last thing you want to do with any organ or gland that has anything to do with hormonal function is create a consistent state of elevation or stress. Shorter periods of physical activity will prevent overstimulation. While there isn’t that much research that directly compares the effects of aerobic vs. burst training for the treatment of hypothyroidism, we have learned from a logical, clinical standpoint that interval training doesn’t overstress hormones.

Research involving high-intensity interval training has also shown that this type of exercise increases human growth hormone (HGH) release and suppresses cortisol release, which can help to restore optimal thyroid function. On the other hand, aerobic or endurance exercise does the reverse, increasing cortisol release while suppressing HGH.

If you or someone you know is dealing with hypothyroidism, I hope you’ll revisit each post in this series and contact us at Natural Healthcare Center for an examination.  This is the year of the family, and we need to have as many tools as possible in our arsenal to combat conditions like hypothyroidism, which can often lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol. Exercise, nutrition and acupuncture are three of those tools. Let us help you understand your treatment options and take back your health.

If you have a thyroid-related question, please post it below in the comments section, or email me privately at jproodian@naturalhc.com. I hope you found this series of posts on hypothyroidism to be helpful. If there are other topics that you would like to me to cover in a similar series, please let me know. This blog exists to answer your questions and help you live a healthy lifestyle, so please free to offer ideas and feedback.

Dr. James Proodian

Dr. James Prood­ian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.

Dr. Proodian
May 17, 2014 at 10:18 pm

I have a hypothyroid condition and recently started incorporating burst training into my exercise program. My question is whether or not I can still do aerobic walking a few times a week in addition to the HIIT? Just doing Burst 3x/week I found that I missed getting outside for a 30-45 minute walk and felt sluggish on the days when I wasn’t working out. I don’t want to overtrain, but I want to know the right balance between doing HIIT and getting some aerobic exercise. Thank you in advance for your advice.

May 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Doing some additional aerobic exercise is fine except be conscious of your thyroid condition. I would prefer weight training on the days you are not doing HIT. Please remember that rest is essential and so is sleep with thyroid. If you feel tired/fatigued STOP!!! Make sure your hormone levels are checked with training but the HIT is the best prescription. Aerobic needs to be light if you add on your off days and remember HIT can be done OUTSIDE!!!! Its getting nice. Be well.

October 20, 2015 at 4:39 pm

I need the exercise

March 3, 2016 at 2:46 am

I was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism and I’m doing hiit 3 times a week now what I was wondering can I lift weights on my other days?? Like deadlifts and squats with weights?? I do get lots of rest trust me lol but just don’t wanna over due it, thanks Andy

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About Dr. Proodian

Dr. Proodian is passionate about helping people achieve better health through natural methods by combining nutrition, exercise physiology, and education with his Chiropractic care. He partners with his patients, providing a collaborative and accessible doctor-patient experience. He stands for consistency, focus, and loving his work.

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