Hypothyroidism Exercise

Exercising with hypothyroidism has been quite a misunderstood topic. Many people claim that exercise has huge benefits for people suffering from hypothyroidism. And some others tend to disagree. The truth is that exercise CAN have some amazing benefits BUT not all exercise is created equal. In fact, most forms of exercise will further damage your thyroid. But there are some very beneficial forms of hypothyroid exercise that have proven that they can be a very effective component of your hypothyroidism treatment plan.

And don’t forget to make your exercise even more effective by following the right hypothyroidism diet for even better and faster results.

The Wrong Kind of Hypothyroidism Exercise

I want to make sure that I make myself clear… Most forms of exercise are not beneficial and will only make you more hypothyroid.

This is because most forms of exercise cause excessive stress to your body.

Think about how exercise is supposed to work for a minute…

Almost all exercise is catabolic by nature, meaning that the stress of it causes your body to break down its own tissue. And it’s not until after this exercise that your body’s natural repair processes start up and your body recovers from the stress with the goal of rebuilding itself stronger than before.

But you have to realize that when you are hypothyroid, your body cannot properly recover from stressful exercise. So while you are hitting the gym thinking that you’re doing some great hypothyroidism exercise, you are continuously breaking down your body even more while your body fails to rebuild itself.

Eventually, your body breaks down to the point that if you’re lucky, you just run out of gas and you just can’t muster enough energy to make it to the gym. But more often than not, you end up with some sort of injury that sidelines your gym efforts.

And this is actually quite common due to the calcification of soft tissues that is one of the common hypothyroidism symptoms. But that’s a topic of another article.

Studies have also shown that these poor choices of hypothyroidism exercise cause your body to stop producing T3 almost immediately. And if that’s not an indication of a problem, then I don’t know what is.

I think that most people fail to realize that hypothyroidism is a respiratory problem. And without going into detail here, when you perform these types of poor hypothyroidism exercise, it forces your body to shift even further away from your healthy and thyroid supportive, oxidative energy system. And this makes you even more hypothyroid, which continues to carry over even after your workout.

So here I’ve listed some of the worse kinds of hypothyroidism exercise that you should be avoiding at all costs.

Cardiovascular Exercise

hypothyroidism exercisePersonally, I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that so many people recommend cardio as a good form of hypothyroid exercise. And because people tend to push themselves to their limit when it comes to doing cardio, it makes it even worse.

Cardio exercise causes a chronic stress response from your body which is extremely catabolic. You might lose some weight but it’s most likely going to be from the breakdown of muscle tissue. And this process is not only stressful and inflammatory to your body, but it also contributes to hypothyroidism.

Any Form of Intense Exercise

I’ve seen a major shift in the exercise world which has been brought around mostly because cardio exercise doesn’t get results. And I think a large part of the problem really stems from the fact that most people are hypothyroid to begin with.

So, there’s been a major shift away from traditional cardio and to shorter and much more intense workouts. But this also has some major pitfalls, making it another poor hypothyroidism exercise choice.

When you’re hypothyroid, you already have a problem storing sugar in your liver. And these intense workouts require your body to use large amounts of sugar very quickly. And when this sugar isn’t available, then your body takes a beating. And again, this causes significant amounts of stress that leave you unable to recover and even more hypothyroid in the end.

The Right Kind of Hypothyroidism Exercise

The right kind of hypothyroidism exercise is very contradictory to the current exercise philosophy of working harder to get better results. In most cases, doing less is actually the key.

I’m going to give you three forms of exercise that are highly recommended for hypothyroidism. And this is because they are not catabolic in nature and do not work to break down your body.

Instead they promote and stimulate your body’s repair processes and create an anabolic, or tissue rebuilding, effect.

There are a few similarities between these three forms of good hypothyroidism exercise that I think are worth pointing out.

One of the biggest similarities is that they all place their primary focus on proper breathing. And this is far more important that you probably realize.

They do this because it’s the breathing techniques that they use which work to stimulate your healthy oxidative energy system. And without going into too much detail, this triggers your parasympathetic nervous system which is what promotes your body’s natural repair process.

And you’ll also notice that none of these forms of exercise are intense. Instead they are designed to focus on so much more than your muscles. They are balancing your energy system, your hormones, and so many other processes that work behind the scenes which are the true dictators of your health.

Instead of creating stress on your body, they are actually lower your stress level and hormones.

Below I’ve listed 3 great forms of hypothyroidism exercise. Find which one resonates with you the most and use it to your advantage.

Tai Chi

I’m a huge fan of Tai Chi and I think its benefits speak for itself.

hypothyroidism exerciseI’ve mentioned many times that thyroid function decreases with age and that many of the health problems common among the elderly community are in fact a result of hypothyroidism.

And I think that the testament to the effectiveness of Tai Chi can be seen in the amazing success that it has been providing the elderly community. It’s slowly gaining ground with this age population but the results speak for themselves.

Also, consider the fact that as you age, your body’s healing processes slow down. So, if it’s this effective with the elderly, then imagine how effective it can be for the younger population.


Qigong is another great type of hypothyroidism exercise. I understand that there are many differences between Tai Chi and Qigong, but for all intensive purposes I would say that they are similar in nature and the results that they provide.

Tai Chi tends to be more structured whereas Qigong is freer flowing.

I definitely recommend trying them both and finding which one you find you enjoy more.


Yoga for hypothyroidism is one form of hypothyroidism exercise that you have to be a little more careful about. And that’s because there are many different forms and practices of yoga and not all are created equal.

You really want to stick with a less intensive form that focuses heavier on breathing and flexibility as opposed to many forms that are much more intense.

Again, I cannot stress enough the importance of using the right kind of hypothyroidism exercise as part of your treatment for hypothyroidism. It can really help accelerate your results and health to new levels.


Yoga for Hypothyroidism

Yoga is the one eastern form of exercise that has really gained a lot of popularity in the western world. And I think that there’s a lot of benefit with using yoga for hypothyroidism. But like with everything in life, with the good, comes the bad.

In the western world there seems to be this universal belief that the best results always come to those who work the hardest. So we work out harder, expecting to get even better results.

But yoga for hypothyroidism is one area where clearly, less is more. And also keep in mind that the right hypothyroidism diet can greatly increase the effectiveness of your yoga and help to drastically improve hypothyroidism symptoms.

Good Yoga for Hypothyroidism vs. Bad Yoga for Hypothyroidism

There are many different forms of yoga being practiced all over the world. Some focus more on the mental aspects of life. Others focus more on the physical aspects. Each and every form of yoga has its place. But it’s important to make sure that the form of yoga you choose is right for you and your lifestyle.

I shouldn’t even have to say this, but I will.

If you are hypothyroid, then your body is under chronic stress. No ifs, ands, or buts. That’s just the reality of it.

So, while there are many forms of yoga that are designed to be quite physically demanding and are great for those who have no other stress in their lives, this is just not the case for you. But it’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that these physically demanding forms of yoga is really where you get the best results.

Trust me; you have enough stress in your life that yoga for hypothyroidism should focus entirely on reducing your stress instead of adding to it.

So it should go without saying that the less intense the yoga, the better. Most “beginner” yoga classes are frowned upon because they aren’t considered challenging. But this is probably the best form of yoga for hypothyroidism that you can do.

The Importance of Proper Breathing

All forms of yoga place a lot of emphasis on breathing which is definitely a good thing. But the easy classes tend to spend more time devoted entirely to developing the right breathing patterns which is something that is a problem for most hypothyroid people.

When your body is under stress, you tend to develop an inverted breathing pattern that involves breathing predominantly from your chest. And when you’re under chronic stress then this type of breathing becomes habit and causes your body to release even more stress hormones.

So, one great way to reduce your stress levels is to re-learn that healthy diaphragmatic breathing pattern which will naturally reduce your stress levels.

yoga for hypothyroidismAnd this is where the basic yoga for hypothyroidism can make a big impact.

It stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system which shifts you away from the “fight or flight” response of your sympathetic nervous system to a state of relaxation and recovery. And this creates a cascade of effects within your body that most notably improves your body’s ability to heal and decreases your stress hormones.

By decreasing your stress hormones, you automatically improve your blood sugar balance and improve your thyroid function. So something as simple as breathing properly can have a direct impact on your thyroid health.

Soft Tissue Considerations with Yoga for Hypothyroidism

Another very important topic to cover regarding yoga for hypothyroidism is the demand for flexibility and mobility which is lacking in those with hypothyroidism.

When you are hypothyroid, both estrogen and parathyroid hormones increase. And both of these hormones cause your cells to take up more calcium which leads to the calcification of your soft tissue.

In other words, your tendons, ligaments, and muscle tissue that use to be quite flexible become hardened and lose a lot of that flexibility.

So, this is a big reason why yoga for hypothyroidism should not be intense. If you force your body into poses that are too physically demanding for your lack of flexibility and mobility then you can seriously injure yourself.

You should only work within your comfortable range of motion and not force anything. Leave the difficult poses to the yogi’s.

Yoga for Hypothyroidism Poses

I am in no way a yoga expert.

I have only studied a form of yoga that was far more focused on the meditative aspect of yoga. However yoga postures were taught to supplement the meditative practices. But the truth is, at the time I lacked enough flexibility to do many of the poses from being hypothyroid myself and years of abusing my body in the gym.

But there are a couple of poses that are great for yoga for hypothyroidism which focus on the neck and cervical spine which can help to stimulate your thyroid.

Fish Pose

yoga for hypothyroidismAs I mentioned, I’m no yoga expert so I’m not going to attempt to explain how to do this pose properly. That’s best left to a trained yoga teacher.

But the Fish Pose is an exercise that places your cervical spine in extension and helps to stretch the soft tissue surrounding your thyroid cartilage and thyroid gland.

Shoulder Stand Pose

yoga for hypothyroidismThe shoulder Stand pose does the opposite of the Fish Pose by putting the cervical spine in flexion. This also helps stretch some of the soft tissues that affect your thyroid gland. But it also helps correct a postural issue called forward head posture. And forward head posture can also negatively affect your thyroid and contribute to hypothyroidism.

Hopefully it’s obvious by now that yoga is quite beneficial for hypothyroidism and can be an important part of your hypothyroidism treatment program. Just keep in mind that not all forms of yoga best suited for you. The best yoga for hypothyroidism is one that is comfortable, reduces your stress, and leaves you feeling energized.