Are You Overtraining? Can Too Much Exercise Harm Your Thyroid?

Regular physical activity is an excellent way to naturally stimulate thyroid hormone metabolism.  However, if are doing boot camp workouts, or high intensity exercise sessions you may want to read WHY this type of overtraining is detrimental to the thyroid.

YES! Overtraining Can Harm The Thyroid

You may already be aware that when your thyroid is underactive it’s difficult to perform any type of intense exercise, especially when you are experiencing severe bouts of fatigue.

This is WHY I think anyone recommending high intensity fitness workouts has a misguided approach to healing hypothyroidism. The reality is, strenuous exercise places too much stress on the body and therefore severly blocks your ability to recover your health and vitality.

Hypothyroidism Impacts Your Ability To Regulate Core Body Temperature

The thyroid plays a key role in regulating your core body temperature.

When you exercise in a hot environment, or overheat your body with strenuous exercise you place far greater stress on your thyroid. This is the reason I am not a supporter of Bikram hot yoga. This yoga practice is performed in a very warm yoga studio which places an extreme amount of stress on the thyroid.

You can read more on this topic here: Could Regular Yoga Practice Aid Thyroid Health?

Stay Hydrated While Exercising

It’s important to stay properly hydrated as this helps prevent heat exhaustion. Even mild dehydration can cause weakness, dizziness and fatigue. It’s also important to drink plenty of purified water before, and after your exercise session.

Thyroid and Heart Risk

Low triiodothyronine (T3) is associated with low blood pressure, and a slow heart rate. This means any type of strenuous exercise has the potential to place enormous strain on your cardiovascular system.

Current guidelines identify normal blood pressure as equal to or lower than 120/80. You should also check your pulse rate when you take your blood pressure. You will find automatic blood pressure machines do this.

If your resting pulse rate is 60 beats per minute, or less your findings should be discussed with your healthcare practitioner. One of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is bradycardia, the medical term for a slow pulse rate.

You can read more here: Bradycardia Symptoms Can Signal a Thyroid Problem {But The Connection is Often Missed!}.

The Adrenals Control Cortisol Output When You Exercise

Whenever you exercise cortisol is released by the adrenal glands in proportion to the intensity of the workout. Too much high intensity exercise causes your cortisol to soar. Apart from the stress this places on the adrenals, cortisol causes weight gain around the middle, and accelerates muscle break down. This is not the effect you want!

It’s therefore best to match your workouts to your level of adrenal function. For this reason, walking, light strength training, or gentle yoga may be all you need. Any type of physical movement keeps your metabolism humming.

Overtraining and Low Blood Pressure Problems

The adrenals play an important role in regulating your blood pressure. When you have adrenal fatigue you may find your body needs to work harder to maintain a healthy heart rate.

If you find your blood pressure fluctuates in response to quick changes in your body position you should be checked for orthostatic hypotension. The symptoms associated with this low blood pressure condition include dizziness, blurred vision, even fainting. It can be the reason you feel dizzy when you do sits ups, or squat-stand exercises. Your body is finding it difficult to properly regulate blood pressure in response to changes in your body position.

Can Exercise Help With Hypothyroidism?

If you have not performed regular exercise for a while, I suggest you start out with short 20-30 minute sessions a few times a week. As your vitality improves you could aim to do cardio exercise 2-3 times a week and strength training 2-3 times a week. This will give you the required days to rest and recover.

It also goes without saying that you should always listen to feedback from your body, and exercise within your comfort zone. Exercise should make you feel good, not sick and exhausted.

If you do not feel well while exercising you need to slow the pace down, or do shorter sessions.

In Summary

The best exercise program should feel like fun. If it feels like work, or worse a torture session, you are not going to look forward to it. And if you don’t look forward to exercising you will eventually stop doing it.


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