Do's and Don'ts for Exercising Safely When You Have Hypothyroidism

Do’s and Don’ts for Exercising Safely When You Have Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can bring challenges like fatigue, weight gain, and joint pain into your life, but exercise can be a valuable tool to manage these symptoms. It also contributes to your overall well-being by helping you control your weight, improve cardiovascular health, boost your energy levels, build stronger bones, manage blood sugar, and maintain flexibility. However, when it comes to exercising with hypothyroidism, there are essential dos and don’ts to ensure your safety and maximize the benefits.


1. Consult Your Doctor Before Starting an Exercise Program

Before diving into any exercise routine, it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you are new to exercise. Your doctor can evaluate your overall health, check for underlying conditions, and assess your thyroid hormone medication’s dosage. It’s essential to ensure you’re on the right medication dose to prevent potential cardiac issues during exercise.

2. Start Slowly, Especially if You’re New to Exercise or Experience Severe Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Take a gradual approach to exercise, particularly if you’re new to it or dealing with severe hypothyroidism symptoms. Attempting too much too soon can lead to injuries. Begin with shorter sessions and lower intensities, ensuring that your body tolerates the increased workload at each stage. Adjust the exercise dosage as needed based on your energy levels and physical condition.

3. Incorporate Stretching into Your Routine

Stretching plays a crucial role in maintaining joint mobility and flexibility, which is essential for avoiding joint stress during exercise. If you experience joint pain or muscle stiffness, gentle neck and shoulder exercises can be particularly beneficial.

4. Try Nonimpact or Low-Impact Exercises

For individuals concerned about joint pain, nonimpact and low-impact exercises are excellent choices. These include water aerobics, swimming laps, biking, walking, and using an elliptical machine. They reduce the impact on your joints while delivering the benefits of aerobic exercise.

5. Include Strength Training in Your Regimen

Strength training, whether involving weights or body weight exercises like squats and push-ups, is a valuable addition to your exercise routine. It helps counteract the effects of hypothyroidism, promoting stronger muscles, healthier joints, and reduced fatigue.

6. Diversify Your Exercise Routine

Mixing different forms of exercise maximizes the benefits of your workouts. Incorporate strength training two to three times a week, engage in aerobic activities five to six days a week, and practice gentle flexibility exercises daily.

7. Prioritize Regular Physical Activity

Find time for some form of activity most days of the week. You can start small, such as performing exercises while brushing your teeth or standing on one leg. Gradually work your way up to the recommended guidelines, such as 150 minutes of moderate activity per week.

8. Consider Working with a Qualified Personal Trainer

If you’re unsure about the best exercise routine for your condition, consider working with a qualified personal trainer. Ensure the trainer holds certifications from nationally recognized organizations, such as the American College of Sports Medicine or the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and has experience adapting exercises to individual needs.

9. Listen to Your Body

Hypothyroidism symptoms can vary widely among individuals. Pay close attention to your body’s signals and tailor your exercise regimen to your specific needs. Avoid comparing yourself to others and prioritize finding the right exercise level for you. Remember that a gentle and enjoyable routine is more sustainable in the long run.


1. Start an Exercise Program Without Your Doctor’s Approval

Exercise can be a powerful tool for managing hypothyroidism symptoms, but it should never begin without first consulting your doctor. Your healthcare provider will assess your overall health, underlying conditions, and medication dosage.

2. Rush into Exercise, Especially If You’re New or Experiencing Severe Symptoms

Attempting too much too soon can lead to injuries and setbacks. Gradual progression is key to safe and effective exercise.

3. Neglect Stretching

Incorporate stretching to maintain joint mobility and flexibility, reducing the risk of joint stress or muscle soreness.

4. Engage in High-Impact Exercises if Joint Pain Is a Concern

Avoid high-impact exercises if you experience joint pain. Instead, opt for nonimpact or low-impact activities to protect your joints.

5. Overexert Yourself

Excessive exercise can lead to fatigue, injuries, and setbacks. Be mindful of your body’s signals and avoid pushing too hard too soon.

6. Stick to a Single Form of Exercise

Diversify your exercise routine to maximize its benefits. Engaging in various activities contributes to a holistic approach to fitness.

7. Overcomplicate Your Exercise Routine

Maintain a simple and enjoyable exercise regimen. Avoid unnecessary complexity that might lead to frustration or decreased adherence.

By following these dos and don’ts, you can embark on a safe and effective exercise journey while managing hypothyroidism. Remember that your well-being is paramount, and the right approach to exercise can lead to better health and symptom management.

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