Women with hypothyroidism often struggle with weight loss. That's because your tiny thyroid gland has a huge responsibility: Thyroid hormones play an important role in regulating basal metabolism, thermogenesis and play an important role in various metabolic processes like lipid and glucose metabolism, food intake and fat oxidation.It regulates your metabolism, which means it converts your food into energy. If you have hypothyroidism, with less energy, you end up feeling sluggish, making you more prone to an inactive lifestyle and further adding to your weight-gain problems.
The resulting obesity can lead to health risks, such as heart disease and diabetes. Hence, trying exercise for hypothyroidism to shed those extra kilos is not only about fitting back into your old denims but also about keeping yourself healthy overall. With a condition like hypothyroidism, however, cutting calories alone may not solve the problem. Here's where metabolism-boosting exercises come in.
How Muscle Mass Influences Metabolism
A healthy diet and hypothyroid medications prescribed by your doctor definitely help, but they may not be enough to help you shed the extra weight. While unhealthy calorie restriction could help you lose weight, it may also increase your risk of sarcopenia. This implies muscle loss and reduced muscle functioning.
Thus, what's key is improving your metabolism in a healthy way that doesn't compromise your physical functioning. A good way to do this is by building more muscle. Muscles burn more calories than fat tissue, even at a resting state. So increasing your muscle mass while losing body fat boosts your body's metabolism, thus helping you lose weight.
Why Strength Training?
Strength-training exercises are an excellent way to gain muscle mass. Studies have shown that resistance training, along with dietary modification, helps you lose weight. Since strength training increases muscle mass and metabolic rate, you burn more calories. Strength-training exercises also prevent the muscle loss that accompanies calorie cutting, so you stay more fit as you fight the flab. The benefits don't stop at your thyroid though; resistance training enhances heart health and helps control blood glucose levels.
How to Incorporate Exercise for Hypothyroidism
You don't need a gym membership or fancy home gym equipment for strength-training exercises. You can always start with basic exercises, such as squats, lunges, leg raises and push-ups. Together, these exercises work all the major muscles in your body. And with just a pair of dumbbells, you can broaden your routine to include basic weight-lifting exercises, such as overhead press, bent-over row, chest press and bicep curls.
For a good metabolism-boosting training programme, alternate between moderate-intensity strength training and aerobic exercise on different days of the week. While doing these exercises though, do keep a few things in mind:
- Physical activity should always consider your overall health condition, including your age, heart condition, pregnancy and other factors. Do consult your doctor and a qualified personal trainer before you begin an exercise regimen.
- Ease your way into exercise. According to the Cleveland Clinic, an underactive thyroid can cause your heart rate to slow down. So, a sudden return to exercise can stress your heart. Once your medications kick in, start with moderate-intensity exercises rather than jumping in at full force.
- There is a fine line between just right and too much. Training too much or at too high an intensity can negate the benefits and do more harm than good. So, it's better not to overdo it!
- Value quality over quantity in your workouts. Multitasking while exercising is a strict no-no. Stay focused, as diversions increase the risk of injury.
With a correct exercise plan, you can boost your metabolism and build strength for a more fulfilling life.
This content is meant for awareness and educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any products. Please consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.