Gentle exercises


my thyroid medication does not appear to be working and my lower legs are aching more and more every day. Even walking up the stairs is very difficult because of my asthma but more because my legs are aching so much. I am overweight but I have been trying to eat well but can only walk to and from uni each day slowly. My Vitamin D is under range at 52 when the range starts at 80 and my Ferritin iron levels are 9 when the range starts at 9 and my Vitamin B12 is only 311 when the upper range is 1000. I know that Clutter already advised me on what to take for this and I will take action soon. I am also slowly trying to reduce my Paroxetine antidepressants which doesn't make me feel very well.

I want to do more gentle exercises apart from slow walking that I can do in my home each day as my muscles are aching so much and I am so constantly tired and dizzy and feeling sick. I want to do effective exercise such as aerobic and simple weight training. I have a wobble board, an exercise tube, wrist and ankle weight cuffs and an ab wheel. I do walk to and from uni each day but I know I need to do more and I am worried about my physical health.

I am going to make an appointment with my doctor for next week but I just wanted guidance on some basic gentle exercises I could do each day.


24 Replies

  • Hi Laura,

    I'm not too good with exercise & going out, but have been looking at a small pedal gadget that's not too expensive. It acts like an exercise bike, but without the seat, & can be used with arms as well as legs. They're not too expensive at about £25-35. There are step machines available for about the same price. You could try asking for one on your local freecycle, if you're broke.

    I'm quite obsessive about what I eat, due to weight issues, & find the information on Chris Kresser's website really informative. I'm veggie, so stick to eating unprocessed food, rather than a paleo diet, & try to get most of my nutrients, aside from iron & vitamin D from food. You should find your incidence of asthma goes down in relation to weight loss.

    I've started making kefir to drink twice a day for B12 & K, & having a few brazil nuts for selenium. I've noticed an improvement in my wellbeing & weight. Calcium & caffeine interfere with iron uptake, so I leave a few hours after my morning kefir & tea, before taking an iron tablet with fruit.


  • Thank you Leverette :)

  • Have you tried going gluten free? It can help your thyroid (if you have autoimmune disease) and it might make you feel less depressed - some people who are borderline coeliac get depressed. Have you ever been tested for coeliac? I know someone who managed to lose 4 stone and keep it off by going gluten free. I might even try it myself one day!

  • Naturegirl, it doesn't sound to me like you should be doing anymore than walking at the moment, if you're still having symptoms like that.

    You say your 'thyroid medication isn't working', but you Don't say how much you're on or what your labs are... I'd be willing to bet that your T3 is too low. It's not just the fact of taking the stuff that gets rid of symptoms, it's taking the right amount.

    But you do know that exercising uses up your T3, Don't you, and is therefore likely to make your legs ache even more. It's low T3 that gives us symptoms.

  • Thank you, it is difficult to make the doctors see that though. I had one thyroid test two months ago and I was told I couldn't have another test until next April and that my thyroid had sorted itself out now even though my T3 had dropped but they said that is normal.

    You can see my results on previous posts.

  • I agree with GG. It sounds like you're actually doing the upper limits of exercise you really want to be doing.

    The two things I'd suggest are 1) Are you getting complete rest in the days you don't go to uni, like the weekend? And do you see any change in the pain after 2 days of rest? For me it really takes A LOT of complete rest to recover from a walk.

    And 2) if you're hypothyroid, walking to college might be the equivalent of an hour of heavy aerobics or weightlifting when you were well, so if you must do it I think it's important to treat yourself well like you would do with a big workout. Warm up and cool down properly, and especially stretch afterwards. Otherwise you're plonking into a chair or sofa with muscles that have worked hard, no energy left, just to let stiffen up. Hot baths and hot water bottles can be a help for that.

  • OK, so looked at your results, and, yes, your T3 is too low. And exercising is just going to make that worse. There really is no point.

    On the other hand, your doctor is a dodo, and needs a hearing aid. You need an increase in dose. 100 mcg is not a very high dose. But your TSH is too high for someone on thyroid hormone replacement. You're just going to have to shout louder!

    But, having said that, what are you doing about the low B12, folate and iron? Did he prescribe anything for the iron? I wouldn't expect him to for the B12 as it's in-range, but the iron?

    If those three aren't optimal, your body is not going to be able to use the Levo you're taking. So, it really is important to get those levels up. :)

  • The doctor prescribed Furrous Fumarate 210mg for my iron and suggested over the counter Valupak Vitamin D3. I also have to order the vitamin B12 hormone (forgotten it's name) on amazon. If I take all of these regularly then go back for another thyroid blood test in 2-3 months, that might be more helpful to be able to see if it is my thyroid or my Vitamin and iron levels.

  • Methylcobalamin. :)

    Well, I would say it's a mixture of the two - thyroid and vit/mins.

    Do hurry with the B12, it's awfully low. :(

  • Thank you, I will

  • I agree with Greygoose, I found it difficult to walk upstairs, or any walking for that matter. felt like an old woman ached all over. Once I started adding T3 it all went away.

  • Hi thanks,

    The doctor does not listen though. I can try again and ask about T3 after I have another thyroid test.

  • Agree with others...get lab tests done and posted. Sounds like you are low all round. I also get the aching legs and fatigue issues when levels are not right. Aim for increasingly better levels of functioning; replacement of deficiencies does not make things right overnight. If t3 is what you need it may act pretty quickly on the fatigue - and possibly the breathing issues, also common in other deficiencies you note. I often push myself too much and go through a crash and recovery cycle. Ideally one should not push to the crash stage as it causes more damage including upsetting thyroid hormone levels further. Thyroid hormone replacement goes hand-in-hand with ongoing self care. In short, our bodies are on red alert to find homeostasis - where once we could go hard on the pedal, park up and forget our vehicle, we now have to think about it. For me personally, better use of thyroid hormone replacement includes pacing (ahem) and stress reduction, and watching my blood sugar levels. As well as the other good diet and lifestyle practices shared across the forum. Adrenal health is key too. Chronic fatigue (whatever the cause) is linked with mitochondrial failure, and forcing exercise on damaged or struggling mito can damage the mito further. Obviously, encourage GP to investigate other causes along the way. And keep moving gently.

    Sarah Myhill explains a lot about mito failure

    Bit about the adrenal thyroid connection

    There is such a lot to take in but get the levels checked, get on a good replacement regime, preferably with medical help on the obviously low results, and look after yourself best you can including the right sort of rest and gentle exercise where possible. Practice belly breathing x

  • Hi thank you, what blood test would I need to test my adrenal gland? I don't know if this is the problem. I do eat healthily and walk to and back from uni but I am always so tired in terms of trying to do any other exercise.

  • In order of priority get your thyroid hormonec levels tested and post here foradmin to advise x

  • I had your symptoms including depression before thyroid replacement....the simple answer might be you thyroid level of replacement is too low.

  • Any anti-depressant will negate any sort of thyroxine and exercise of any kind uses up T3.

  • I am slowly trying to come off my antidepressants, just to reduce them at first and see how I go.

  • I recommend pilates. But whilst I was on t4 I couldn't have contemplated any exercise. Now on T3 and do pilates. Which I think should be compulsory for all 20 year olds as I wish my body had learnt it earlier. It's hardly exercise. More learning to use your body well and strongly. Thyroid meds first. Then exercise/pilates. Good luck.

  • Go to your Doctor and ask for an appointment to see a Physiotherapist, then ask them for Hydrotherapy treatment. I have done this and find exercising in lovely warm water at my local hospital so much easier than trying to do it at home.

  • Thank you all so much for your informative and supportive comments and suggestions :)

  • I was also having increasing problems with walking due to pain in leg muscles, dizziness and breathlessness. I started taking methylcobalamin hoping it would help with brain fog and in two days all those symptoms started to get better to my amazement. So I was able to join a local council (ie cheap!) gym. I'm only walking on the treadmill 2 or 3 times a week for an hour but over last month I've managed to increase my walking speed (albeit from a stagger initially!) and as time goes on may be able to do incline, you never know! Am still trying to get levo dosage or rather my blood tests to be acceptable by endo but that's another argument.

  • Hi mrsm49, are you taking oral or injections. And how much ? I swear oral helps me even though they say it is not absorbed into the system via digestion.

  • I take sublingual methylcobalamin form of b12 , this has helped my mum and sister too despite us all being very sceptical that it would. For me I noticed effect in couple days but it depends how deficienct you are and how long for.

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