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Thyroid UK
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Thyroid and exercise problems?

Hey guys,

I try to keep fit by attending fitness classes and the gym on a regular basis. I am usually upbeat about the sessions however today I felt really ill towards the end of the session. When I was lying down doing sit ups or press ups I had this sensation that my thyroid was pressing against my windpipe and I felt like I was suffocating. My face went white as a sheet and felt really light headed. This is the first time it's ever happened and I've been exercising for years.

Is it just me? Am i imagining things?! I've just increased my dose to 75mg on Thursday (i know still a low dose) but has this had an effect?

Many thanks x

7 Replies

I have severe difficulty doing exercise mainly because my energy levels are not there. I have been told its really not advisable to do crazy work outs when you have a thyroid problem. Try light exercise like swimming,pilates,yoga,thai chi.... I used to do a lot of martial arts, pole dancing,etc before I had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism.


are you drinking plenty of water? u should be drinking water while u exersize.


I always drink water :)


Hi Emma,

I am not medically qualified but I think it is because you may not yet be on an optimum of thyroid medication. When we exercise our T3 lowers which is the active hormone (as you probably know) and if you aren't as yet on enough medication, there's no way you can effectively do exercise. Maybe walking will be less strenuous and you can still maintain some level of fitness.


Excerpt from another link:

Even after receiving treatment for hypothyroidism, many people find that their caloric needs and ability to handle exercise have changed permanently. Strength training can help restore their fitness, but only after thyroid hormone levels have normalized. Therefore, hypothyroidism affects the ability of people to undergo both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.



Exercising depletes T3 which is the active hormone and therefore you need to keep it topped up.


B12 deficiency is often present with low thyroid and can mean your body is not getting either the B12, oxygen or healthy red blood cells it needs. B12def - also called Pernicious Anemia, a life-threatening condition - also impairs our bone marrow's ability to produce healthy red blood cells of the right size and carrying capacity to make blood flow easily and circulate the needed B12 and O2 round the body. Everything in our bodies needs B12 and O2. When exercise feels bad, B12def may explain it.


Thanks for the reply guys, never had my T3 tested, GP won't request. My B12 were apparantley normal, I am back at the surgery a week today I will ask for my results for these and post them :)

I find it hard not doing any HIIT exercise as this is what my body needs to loose the weight :/


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