If you have hypothyroidism, then I’m sure you know a little something about not having energy. That is the biggest hurdle most of us have to overcome (myself included!). It’s a catch-22 situation: exercise gives you energy, but you need energy to exercise. Or do you? So many times I didn’t feel I could make it through a workout, but I made myself do it anyway. Once I started I was able to finish. Whether it was a walk on the treadmill, a short session of Pilate or Yoga, my energy and mood got a boost!
Another downer is that those of us with hypothyroidism often have more trouble losing weight than those with normal thyroid function. We have to work even harder to lose (or maintain!) our weight. It’s so discouraging to feel like you put your best effort in, yet you can’t seem to lose weight. Even when your symptoms improve, the energy battle never ends!
My Top Tips for Exercising with Hypothyroidism:
- Start small! Walk the block, do 10 minutes of Yoga or Pilates.
- Don’t overdo it! The stress of an intense workout can do more harm than good when your thyroid is out of whack.
- Know your limits! Pushing past them can lead to injury.
- Buy workout DVDs and hand weights so you can exercise at home – driving somewhere can sap what little energy you have!
- Why I work out at home: (1) the time it takes to drive to the gym is either the only time I have to work out or could be added to my workout, (2) I don’t want other people to see how I look in my workout gear, (3) being at the gym is intimidating!
- If you work out at home, pretend that someone is watching you and will know if you cheat/don’t finish. This may sound a bit simplistic, but it keeps me motivated to not only complete the exercises, but to maintain good form.
- Remember that appropriate, regular exercise can boost mood, energy, and immunity (Note: appropriate will not be the same for everyone).
- Try Kundalini Yoga – it’s all about breathing & hormone balance. I’ve tried it and it’s not overly taxing, but I feel amazing when I practice it.
- PLEASE, I beg you, don’t compare yourself to others! Hypothyroidism brings a new normal, so even comparison to your pre-hypothyroid self can be discouraging.
- Focus on improvement instead of perfection!
- Don’t weigh yourself very often (if at all), measurements give you a clearer picture of your progress.
- I like to keep a log of my measurements. I don’t have a set schedule, but bi-weekly would be the most frequent I would recommend.
- If you do weigh/measure yourself, don’t do it during menstruation. I don’t know about you, but I bloat and retain water.
- Make yourself accountable to someone. Whether it’s a workout buddy you meet up with, or a friend a few states away and you’re posting on social media, accountability can help you stay on track.
- Find an exercise you like so you’ll stick with it!
- My faves are a walk on the treadmill, Pilates or Yoga. All of these are low stress exercises that keep you moving and help burn fat and tone muscles!
- Don’t let discouragement stop you! Even if you don’t lose weight, proper diet and exercise is good for your body, so keep it up!
The picture associated with this article is my fitness DVD collection. Don’t worry, I didn’t buy them all at once! This collection has been built over a period of 10 years, well before I was diagnosed because I’ve always been the type that preferred to work out at home.