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Thyroid UK
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At what point is it safe to exercise

Recently diagnosed with Graves... On Carbimazole... Original symptoms were racing heart, sweats, tremor etc... Resting heart rate of 110!

Although my Resting heart is down to 90... I am wondering when it is safe to exercise? Is it a case of waiting for my heart rate to normalise? Or do I need to wait until my t4 is completely within range?

Exercise is not just for fitness but for therapy... And I feel as though I am losing muscle :-(

Thank you friends :-)

24 Replies

Could you ring your doctor and ask.

I had the same questions .

I waited until I had the all clear from him. He freaked out when I asked if I could go on a walk saying not until I give you the go ahead.

You have to be stable a month or two with good results

Check with your doctor


Thank you :-)

Perhaps I will do that... I think he won't let me though as I haven't had an appt with an Endo yet! My first appt is 10/11 weeks after 'diagnosis'... So its only been 4 weeks that I am on Carbimazole...

May I ask, had your T4 levels dropped a lot? Or symptoms gone? Just trying to judge whether its worth calling the docs or not... My GP is very grumpy and unhelpful! (avoided at all costs!!!)

Many thanks for your help


I can't give you my original levels as I didn't get a printout.

My levels on 17.3.16 were

FreeT4 12.1

THS 5.40 (too high)

FreeT3 3.9

The THS was my problem indicated mild Graves Didease.

My hyperthyroidism was found with General blood tests.

I have always been very anxious and pannicky and I was on

Benzodiazepines for years.

I'm 8 months from original diagnosis.

I was able to excersize again after 3 months when my blood tests showed the carbimazole had stableised my levels.

My tests on 5mg daily carmibazole are now

Free T4 14.7

TSH 1.10

Free T3 4.8

Now all within normal levels.

I have been up and down

I'm reducing gradually , hoping to be one of the lucky ones who won't need it anymore

Time will tell


Hi, I have been on carbimazole for 5 months and it is driving me crazy not being able to exercise. But I know in myself that the breathlessness is still there, it's just not worth taking the risk right now.


Really... Oh no, awful...5 months! Were your levels really high?

I am felling better since my heart rate is coming down (110 to 86 (measured this morning!))... Although cleaning a few cupboards out did exhaust me yesterday...

Oh, I don't know how long I can cope with not exercising :-( maybe walking at least would be ok, ugh! Thanks Loza :-) Hope you get there soon

1 like

I would make sure with your doctor .

The results of your blood tests will be the determining factor.

It is dangerous to exercise if your heart rate is too high.


I felt great after 3-4 weeks of carb and diltiazem for palpitations and went to the gym to do day one of couch to 5k. After only a few mins my pulse was up to 160 (resting was in low 80s).. I finished the 30 mins cos I'm daft like that and actually felt good despite the pulse!

About 10 mins later I had the shakes, palpitations and felt rough. It wore me out for 2 days! Would advise very easy walks/light swims sec for now and see how you feel. Better to start low and increase if you feel ok.

Its now 8 weeks since I started carb and have just had Levo thyroxine added as well so assuming levels are back down to normal. Waiting for letter to arrive with results. Planning starting gentle exercise this week and seeing how it goes.


Thank you thank you! You sound like me, wanting to usb through all the time!!

I train Taekwondo and was supposed to grade for my black belt soon, so am absolutely gutted :-( 5 years of hard training, and now I can't complete :-(( I'm up and about now (spent 2 weeks crashed out, and awful)... So I may just try walking for half an hour everyday, as my legs feel SO weak compared to how they used to. I was REALLY hoping someone was going to say 'Yay, go for it'!!! But, I guess I need to be sensible...

Thanks for all your help.. I take it if you are on block and replace, your t4 is in range?? Good luck with the exercise... All the best



If cleaning a few cupboards out exhausted you can you imagine what your normal exercise would do? I'm still waiting for the letter with my blood results but had a phone call to say start the thyroxine. Am on block and replace.

The week after I tried strength and flex (nhs) and even that was a struggle and shouldn't have been... My baseline fitness level will be several hundred steps below yours but even so. Planning on trying that one again this week so will let you know how it goes.


Yeah you're right about what normal exercise might do... Its so frustrating... I took the dog for a walk for 30 minutes today, at a medium pace... Felt fine after... But I'm tired this evening... But I guess its 9.30 and I have been on the go most of the day...

Please let me know how you get on this week.

I have decided to have private bloods as I have 7 weeks before my first Endo appt... I am doing natural medicine & supplements also, so want to see how I progress!

I'm beating this beast, I'm not keeping it!!!


If you have either of the symptoms (1) high heart rate, or (2) oxygen hunger, I would not stop exercising; I would go slow. And if low-level exercise doesn't make you feel better, then don't do it until your FT4 and FT3 are in-range.


Thank you... Thats great advice :-)

What do you mean oxygen hunger? Gasping for breath badly?

I have been up and about doing normal chores, shopping and lots of cleaning... I feel better for getting up and about, it does tire me though... Although that helps me go to sleep... Initially, getting up the stairs was exhausting and I would need to lie down (awful hey?)... But now I am negotiating stairs pretty much like before except I know my leg muscles are deteriorating ....

Eddie83, did you get back to exercise quickly?

Many thanks you's again :-)


While still hypothyroid, I would feel almost an asphyxia feeling while going up a steep hill on my bike. I would have to pant to keep from feeling desperate. Went away after I became euthyroid.

Exercising when you are hypothyroid isn't very effective, though. At least not for me. It doesn't produce as much anti-depressive lift.


Oh sounds awful :-( And also, I wonder why you don't get the lift afterwards? At least you are keeping fit though... its very important I think, even more so when you have conditions like ours....

I guess it would be different being Hypo... to being Hyper? Are you Hashi's? I know when I trained tkd, I was obviously Hyper for some of it without knowing... I would be buzzing for hours after, unnaturally so, when I look back!


I probably shouldn't try to compare hypo to hyper! Stupid of me. Although you may have heard that both hypo and hyper states share some symptoms.


Oh no, not silly at all... I sincerely thank you for your answers, its a great support, and yes, I do think Hypo and Hyper overlap in symptoms :-)


I can empathize I have exercised most of my life and Graves made it undo able. But, the good news is, after being on treatment for 6 weeks I was able to slowly start again, I to felt the muscle weakness and low energy but after slowly increasing time and just listening to my body I am back to 3-5 days a week without any issues. I seriously thought I would not have the energy to work out but it does comeback. Hang in there, don't push, take your melds and as you feel better start in slowly. Good luck, feel better


Oh Maspaws, thank you for that... I was starting to feel a bit depressed... I train taekwondo, just coming up to black belt... I don't mind taking a break... But I have to get back to it... So much more than anything I do... Its disheartening to feel your legs disintegrate to mush :-( You have cheered me up! Did you take your heart rate (if it was one of your symptoms?) when exercising to check it? Or just go by how you feel?

Sincerely can't thank you enough... I am 4 weeks into Carbi, my plan was to spend next 2 weeks building up some stretches and walks... To see how I feel... So your message resonates with me! Thank you, SO much :-)


Your not taking statins are you?


I've got hypo with poss graves and maybe a mini stroke or bells palsy. They put me on statins and I got the symtoms you lot are explaining. Not sure what that stuff is your all taking but have you read the side effects of your meds?? I had to come straight of mine because I had adverse reaction, they tried several other meds in the same category but couldn't take those either so they either misdiagnosed me eg bells palsy/ stroke and or allergic to statins. I ended up in acute medicines ward, not nice. I drank lots of water when my heart was racing and this reduced the time taken to gain normal rate. Sugar, coffee and chocolate aggravated the symtoms and increases occurrence of palps or did for me so try to recognize any food stuffs which may trigger onset. Rifined, processed foods contain a lot of added ingredients that can also aggravate the condition. Low iron is also often a cause. There are lots of people on this forum who can walk you through your blood results and tell you whether you need to take supplements so it may be worth posting again with blood results. You gp can print them of for you then post on here.


Thank you, Angelica... No I'm not on statins... I would never take them to be honest, as they cause more trouble than they solve. I take Carbimazole... and it has LOADS of side effects if you read up...

I am taking alternative meds and supplements too. So they haven't diagnosed Graves? Or bells palsy/stroke? If you have Bells Palsy and are in South UK, there is someone that can get rid of it... A friend of mine had it, exhausted steroids, and other meds... They told her there was nothing else they could do. She went to see my Master (I train in Japanese Integrated Meds), he cleared it 80% in two sessions.

I don't eat processed food, but thank you, yes, I do find red wine gets me going on the heart rate!

I'm pretty sure my symptoms are down to Hyperthyroidism, as I have Graves antibodies. I haven't had western medicine for YEARS!! I hate the stuff, and I plan to come off the Carbimazole asap (as soon as I can!)

I hope you are able to resolve your issues, all the best to you :-)


I've had muscle weakness too on levo 125mcg for hypo and couldn't exercise as usual, low stamina and Brain fog, blurred vision, hair loss, skin colour change, basically all the listed side effects from that stuff your taking but I was on levothyroxine. I've gained weight too, quite a bit I was size 10 now 14 to 16 so I'm very different to what I was before treatment. A lot of the cardio workouts that I used to do I couldn't continue with but I switched to Pilate's and yoga and found that although my peripheral muscles had wastage and the skin was starting to droop my core muscles could be worked on and recovery time and exhaustion !levels were not as bad with Pilate's and yoga. I only do a very gentle beginners style for both and although at times it can be a challenge I just remember to breathe and relax and if I get short of breathe I stop and have a drink and a rest. Getting palps whilst exercising is quite frightening though so do take it slowly. I'm not in the south I'm in Coventry which is in the midlands. When I was admitted into hospital a specialist was arguing with another doctors diagnosis of mini stroke, the specialist was adamant that what I had was bells palsy. I'd already had the diagnosis of hypothyroidism. in 2015 my endo wrote to my gp an said possible graves but kept me on levo and wanted to up the dose to 125mcg from 100mcg. I always thought I was more hyper than hypo. I've mentioned the weakness and droop to the right side of my face to my gp who said she carnt see it. I also mentioned the issue with the stroke/bells palsy she just said you need to take statins. I still don't know what it is and with the NHS I doubt I ever will. I am interested in the 80% cure that your master can obtain though.



I feel your anxiety to go back to your normal life. Please, try to calm yourself down. You have oriental trainings, try to meditate to avoid the anxiety. I don't want to be vibe destroyer but there are two things you must bare in mind:

1. You can not exercise under this treatment. It is life threatening. No cleaning, no walking the dog, no lifting shopping bags, no taking the stairs, nothing, definitely no Taekwondo. It is vital that you rest. Meditate as much as you can and simply forget your muscles, your legs and arms until you are clear... You can grow all your muscles back later. One step back now and two forward in the right moment! If you have a good GP/Endo, who will follow all test changes carefully, you might have to wait at least six months to be cleared for exercising. Considering your body did not go to war with Carbi, like mine did....If you react to Carbi it all changes because you have to choose another way to deal with your hyperT.

2. You can not rush through Carbi. It usually is a very long treatment, sometimes life long. Prepare yourself for the worse and enjoy the surprise if it all goes better than expected. Keep in mind that Carbi does not cure hyper/Graves, it simply stops the body from converting iodine into thyroid hormones. As soon as you stop taking it, your body will convert iodine the same way and produce hormones like crazy and all the bad effects of Graves/Hyper will be back.

Please, don't do any exercise, you can put yourself in risk. Active people will suffer the forced break of hyper/Graves the most, but you have to act accordingly.

I was like you, I used to be a (master) competition swimmer and in face of Graves/Carbi/Radioiodine I had to stop swimming for more than a year. It was terrible but since I am a very scared person, and I was afraid I was going to die, I did not do a thing. I had allergy to Carbi, but my heart went normal after RAI and I started my life again as a Hypo.

Just relax!


thank you everyone for your relies and sound sense... I have decided to stay away from exercise for time being... as my heart rate is still high :-( appreciate all the time everyone has taken to answer... i have been feeling poorly, and have been in bed mostly which is why I agent answered sooner...


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