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Thyroid UK
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Sports with hypothyroidism?

How do you exercise having hypothyroidism? I can walk more than 20 minutes straight cuz i feel like i will faint.. my muscles become so weak and i barely have energy to continue walking. But i still want to do some exercises cuz just staying in bed or on the chair doesnt help so much..

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Until your thyroid replacement hirmone levels are correct especially FreeT3 your body simply cannot exercise because....all exercise depletes the precious T3 that every body cell needs to function

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That's a valid point and would adhere to the idea that even after optimum HRT is in place the exercising should be reasonable. I for one used to train a lot but when I started to overdo (too much too fast) crashing was at the door. Increase mindfully and your body will follow.

Fasting is also to be avoided in its severe forms, personally I've noticed it harms the T4 conversion.

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Found this which might be of interest:

"Another interesting observation: Your serum Free T4 abruptly rises by about 20% when you fast for 12 or more hours (1). In clinical practice, many patients actually fast for 12 or more hours because they also have their blood drawn for cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose level. This increase in Free T4 is misleading in the sense that it does not truly reflect what happens on a daily basis when you do not fast. You may actually be low in Free T4, but fasting will bring Free T4 in to the normal range. The reason for this abrupt increase in Free T4 after fasting is as follows: Fasting causes a decrease in the peripheral T4 to T3 conversion which causes a transient build-up of Free T4." (from "Hypothyroidism And Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: A Groundbreaking, Scientific And Practical Treatment Approach" by Sarfraz Zaidi MD)

It interested me as I used to fast with no problem at all, now I find it makes me feel rough as hell after about 22 hours. I am not diagnosed as hypothyroid, but looking at it as a potential cause of the symptoms I am now suffering from.

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Exactly, that's why the mix of extreme fasting and exercising is a big No-no.

The good side is that, in time, after stable levels are achieved, harder training is possible if gradually exercised. In my personal experience, failure to observe those rules meant crash landing with depression leading the nose down. Makes perfect sense as the brain is highly sensitive to FT3 levels (confirmed by my first ever T3 dose experience when a years old dark cloud dissipated in minutes and my Endo that was explaining why the poor converters sink in depression)

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Thank you guys for answering me. I will take slowly just walking, did u experience also side affects when you started treatment? Cuz i feel more nervous, and hard to feel asleep with levo, or it is just the body who is getting used to medication?

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It can be both. Too much levo, too quickly, poor response due to adrenal situation and/or poor levels of known minerals/vitamins prone to depletion.

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I suspect I have hashimotos and have been diagnosed under active thyroid for 30 years and on T4 for 20 years with the last 10years a combination of t4 and t3 which gave me such an improvement but 2 years ago I read to take your meds at night going to bed , since doing this I have felt so much better in the morning and drop of to sleep with no trouble at all . Maybe try that

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Have you thought about reducing the time and increasing the frequency?

Start with 5 mins x 3 times a week and gradually increase to a length of time you're comfortable with and up to every day or every other day? Gentle walking and / or Swimming (or gentle exercise in water).

Increasing is supposed to be to 30mins for 3 to 7 days per week. But if you have difficulty at 20 mins - stop at 15 ?

Others:

Stretching while lying on the bed?

Foot movements when sitting?

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Thank you. I will start increasing slowly and do more stretching.

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Mary-intussuception is right. At the beginning it is hard for everyone, even for euthyroid people and for us even more. Start slow and increase the time.

There is no need to exercise a lot but it would be great if you could at least go for a walk everyday because not only it healthy but will also relax you.

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Yeah.. i am trying to have a walk of maximum 30 minutes before going to sleep just to calm a little bit and sleep faster..

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You only started on Levothyroxine two weeks ago.

Presumably only on standard starter dose of 50mcg ?

Each dose takes at least 6 weeks to get use to

Bloods retested 6-8 weeks after each dose increase. Dose increased upwards slowly in 25mcg steps. Retesting 6-8 weeks later each time

TSH should be under 2 and FT4 in top third of range and FT3 at least half way in range

Recommended on here that all thyroid blood tests should ideally be done as early as possible in morning and fasting. Last Levothyroxine dose should be 24 hours prior to test, (taking delayed dose immediately after blood draw). This gives highest TSH, lowest FT4 and most consistent results. (Patient to patient tip, best not mentioned to GP or phlebotomist)

Most people eventually need somewhere between 100mcg and 200mcg Levothyroxine.

While levels are slowly improving, only very gentle exercise.

Getting vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12 tested is important as these are frequently low and may need supplementing to improve to good levels

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Add selenium as soon as you can it will maximize the metabolism of T3 and T4. Also consider enzymes both digestive and zones and proteolytic enzyme‘s. It’s advisable to listen to all of the other advice you received here. It will take time for your body to bank if you will and have a reserve of thyroid hormone and you getting back to feeling well and having energy. It’ll probably take at least 6 to 8 weeks and maybe more depending on again how depleted you were and what your dosages and how your doctor is going to treat you. I can’t over emphasize how important selenium is. It may also improve the metabolizing of the thyroid supplements that you’re taking so much that you won’t really get true results / testing. So wait a while - work with your doctor get your supplements stabilized and then find how great it is to add selenium and enzymes.

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Are taking selenium and also levo?

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Never take any other medication or supplements at the same time as Levothyroxine

Always take Levo on empty stomach and then nothing apart from water for at least an hour after.

Many people take Levothyroxine early morning, on waking, but it may be more convenient and possibly more effective taken at bedtime.

verywell.com/should-i-take-...

Other medication at least 2 hours away,

some like HRT, iron, calcium, vitamin D or magnesium at least four hours away from Levothyroxine

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I personally suggest taking Levo (or whatever variant) at bedtime, as it appears to aid sleep based on my own experience and that of fellow family sufferers. I have even split my dose as 3/4 before bed and 1/4 if I wake up in the early hours as it helps me sleep again afterwards.

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No. Selenium and NDT.

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Once you have the right level of medication you will be able to exercise. Like was already said you have to give the new medication time to work so you wont feel the benefits of it straight away. I train 4-5 tines a week and as long as I'm on the correct dose I'm absolutely fine.

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Thank you for answering me. I will take slowly just walking, did u experience also side affects when you started treatment? Cuz i feel more nervous, and hard to feel asleep with levo, or it is just the body who is getting used to medication?

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It's common to feel more anxious when starting on Levothyroxine.

Important to give each dose time to settle.

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Thank you. I am anxious by nature and with levo i feel more, and i get nervous so easily...

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Anxiety is classic sign of being hypothyroid. This should improve as you become less hypothyroid

Getting vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12 tested and supplement, if necessary, to improve can also help

Magnesium supplements can be very calming

Calm vitality magnesium powder is cheap and easy to use. Can help improve constipation. Best to start on low dose, as too much can cause diarrhoea

Best taken in afternoon or evening as can help improve sleep

Any magnesium supplements should be at least four hours away from taking Levothyroxine

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Vit D i already take, folate and b12 are okey. I mean i took the blood test, and my red cells are very high. And that should mean that i do not have deficit of b12. The magnesium is also ok, but i tend to but magne b6 to take one per day, even though my values are ok

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No - blood cell count is different - you need to have blood tests for Folate and B12. Also Ferritin - so ask your doctor if willing to test these?

Did you have any bone (calcium & phosphatase) kidney or liver function tests ?

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Okey. I will take tests of b12 and folate separately. Yes for liver, blood tests and were good. For kidney no, but they does not hurt and i do not have uti.

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Took 3 years for me to get all my levels balanced. I run regular 10ks now. Persevere :)

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Thank you for answering me. I will take slowly just walking, did u experience also side affects when you started treatment? Cuz i feel more nervous, and hard to feel asleep with levo, or it is just the body who is getting used to medication?

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Nerves and difficulty are usually a sign of too much Levo so you'll need to see what yiur levels and test results are after a few months. Takes quite a a while to find the correct level for you!

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Just sharing what happened to me. The best thing I did was start strength training. It changes me metabolically - new healthy muscles(?). But I also cut my thyroxine and now have come off totally, because thyroxine increases my heart rate making me unable to do strenuous exercise. I have to stay active and keep on top of keeping my muscles strong to be a normal person. If I stop, fatigue sets in and it’s extremely hard to get started again.

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Absolutely, it’s my believe after 20 years of hypothyroidism that the key to being as fit as possible is to keep muscles strong. I have wondered too if there’s any extra benefit to conversion etc.

Hypothyroidism affects/ weakens the proximal muscles - those nearest the body and your core. Anything working these is going to help. Pilates can be boring but it’s extremely good for this and if taught correctly is a relatively easy thing to begin.

But, pacing is extremely important. Similar to how someone with cfs might pace.

5 mins of really good core exercises (eg leg raises) on alternate days and 20 mins of a gentle walk daily might be a good place to start. But if thyroid levels aren’t optimal, it will be hard.

Thyroid hormones (and other things like ferritin, vit d and b12) may need to be at a really good level for around 2-3 months before you could reasonably see huge improvements in stamina and strength.

I don’t believe you should do nothing at all though, but as I say gentle walks etc. Even just go to the pool and float in the deep end. It’s partly being in the routine mentally; when you start to feel better you’ll actually feel like you want to do more.

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I also have hypermobility but it’s not an issue if I remain strong.

Lifting a very heavy baby daily is actually helping me at the mo as long as I make sure I don’t strain my back!

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If Hypothyroid then Thyroxine / Levothyroxine must not be stopped - it is for life.

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Fortunately my TSH has been dropping over time towards normal, even though I was decreasing my levothyroxine. I guess something has been healing. My Free T4 is normal too and most importantly I got my life back. I keep track of my heart rate and blood pressure to be safe. Maybe for me it’s just the case of replacing old muscle with new healthy muscle over time. Who knows..!

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for ten years I have had this wheras prior I was a swimmer and used to train most days. Exercise gives me flu like symptoms. With an autoimmune disease you can have exercise intolerance, there ms a good article published recently on the autoimmune wellness website. The only exercise I have found to be tolerated is light yoga and not very often

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Yeah, i did too yoga in one night.

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Just listen to your body and as someone has said little and often. I now exercise 4 times a week. 2 x swimming, 1 x zumba and 1 x weights. However, there were times when I would do excercise and then have to sleep for a hour afterwards as it wiped me out. At the time, I didn't realise how much I was being affected by my thyroid. I thought I was unfit. It's taken a year to get to this stage, with modifications to diet etc and I didn't think i had any thyroid symptoms.

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Thank you for answering me. I will take slowly just walking, did u experience also side affects when you started treatment? Cuz i feel more nervous, and hard to feel asleep with levo, or it is just the body who is getting used to medication?

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Take heart - once your meds are working you’ll feel better. I row, run, cycle and climb. I row in races too - in a quad (4 women sculling) and two of us are underactive. It takes a while - but you’ll get there.

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Thank you for answering me. I will take slowly just walking, did u experience also side affects when you started treatment? Cuz i feel more nervous, and hard to feel asleep with levo, or it is just the body who is getting used to medication?

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Definitely get your vitamin and mineral levels tested (as suggested above). They need to be REALLY optimal. It’s taken me 3 years (since diagnosis and thyroid meds) and I’m finally getting some really good days. I don’t over do it, what’s the point? Just slams you back into feel dreadful. But I went to the theatre Friday evening (good show), a gluten free etc food fair yesterday (involved an hour and half journey each way) and today visiting mother in law (suddenly feeling rough 😉🤣).

This amount of going out and about is not normal for me. But I’m still awake!

Read and take note of the very knowledgeable and helpful people on here. And have patience, you will get there I’m sure. ☺️

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Thank you for answering me. I will take slowly just walking, did u experience also side affects when you started treatment? Cuz i feel more nervous, and hard to feel asleep with levo, or it is just the body who is getting used to medication?

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I found that before all the (suggested on here) vitamin and mineral levels were correct I struggled more. I would be okish for a short while, then rough again.

Also adding magnesium (I use sleep lotion from BetterYou) helps loads.

Taking care of what you eat makes a difference too.

I don’t do well with dairy, soya (soya milk gives me bad headaches), corn (as in gluten substitutes), bread and most gluten.

I try gluten free alternatives, but generally find its better to just go without that particular food.

It’s a big, slow learning curve. I’m improving greatly, but still room for improvement.

Trial and error, one thing at a time so you know what doesn’t suit you.

Read, listen, learn and you will improve. ☺️

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Thank you. Lately i was not eating ok, cuz i feel i do not have any appetite. I would try to take magnesium supplements, maybe it helps me with my sleep.

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I had to quit squash and boxing as they depleted me within weeks. I took up a low impact exercise hobby of salsa dancing, which has been marvellous. Plus I do 3 x 5 minute mini workouts at home each day 5 times a week for strength i.e. per session: 35 press ups, small barbell weights for biceps, triceps, chest and shoulders.

Works a treat for me combined with controlled food intake and I also go with an 18 hour fasting period (unlimited liquids). It took just over a year but I dropped 18kgs (40lbs) and being lighter also carries its own advantages.

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I actually started boxing after having the TT. 3 years after, true ...having stable results of HRT took what seems to be forever :)

Also dropped 27 kg as of now.

There can be reasonable QoL even with autoimmune thyroid disease, right? :)

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Yep definitely can get great QoL. My boxing was full contact and aggressive so that proved too much, I enjoy the dancing it's less painful on the face :-)

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I also do intermittent fasting, but as it affects men and women differently, important to listen to your body’s signals of when it’s not working:

I tryi to not go longer than 14-16 hours of fasting. More than that I notice:

- I lose muscle tone ( even with drinking BCAAS)

- become outrageously famished

- increase in emotional lability

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Now that's interesting because I get emotionally more balanced with up to 18 hours fasting, but I get an energy dip around 5pm after work and sometimes need a short nap before getting ready to go out for salsa. I don't suffer hunger pangs during the day as I'm on a paleo no-carb diet.

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Looks like you’re having a lot more fun exercising (Salsa dancing) than the rest of us!

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I recommend everyone takes it up! Or whatever type they like from line dancing to Lindy Hop or whatever :-)

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Hi, I too am having to downgrade my walking on the treadmill and riding my exercise bike from about 4 to 5 times a week to 2 or 3 times a week at a lot slower pace and duration due to being under medicated at the moment for Hashi’s, we don’t want to use up all our energy on exercising but we can’t just sit around without any type of movement either, when we are bedridden in the hospital they always try to get us up and moving about ASAP. I know it’s hard to be patient but I think this disease is something that just doesn’t have a quick and easy fix. Take care, you’ll get there.

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Why do something that makes you feel worse? Yes, while I was hypothyroid I would almost pass out trying to pump my bike up the hill I live on. And after this, I would feel even worse. I know exercise has benefits, but while you are hypothyroid, the benefits are almost zero. If you want to resume exercise as soon as possible, make sure your doctor is tracking your FT3 level. If your doc won't give you a T3 supplement, and if your FT3 won't rise into normal range, your other option is nutritional supplementation, and esp. selenium.

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I don't know how to copy the link, but on top of all the good advice you got here, read my post

'I got my energy back and got rid of all the symptoms...'

Good luck!

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Thank you ❤

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Thank you!

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I know what you mean. I used to jog everyday, 5 miles a day. I'd take one day off a week, but didn't like doing that because the next day seemed more difficult to get back on track. But then, I started slowing down. My interest in jogging was dissipating. Enter: Hypothyroidism.

Its taken months, 6 months now, of pushing to get out there again. I can run again, but not like I used to. Not yet. I get winded sometimes, way too easily.

Before I workout, I drink a pre workout drink. In the past I didn't need to do this, but it helps now. I warm up while I wait for it to kick in. It has helped me, I can run up some hills now that I couldn't before. The next thing I do is stay hydrated. I drink more than I think I really need. Within an hour of working out, I drink a protein drink or eat an almond bar (protein bar). Nutrition is key!

Be patient with your body, it will get easier! It just takes a lot.

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Thank you a lot!

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I also meant to stress the importance of strength training. Something simple like squats, maybe dumbbells added in. It helps the body build capilaries to feed the muscle oxygen and nutrients so you won't feel so faint while exercising. And pre workout nitrition.

I'm going through this right now and recently so I wanted to share!

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Yeah.. i feel like i am losing the balance so i really need to train that muscles ... my back also hurts...

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Hi, Oanav. That happened to me when my TSH was lower than normal. Now, I have it in the lower normal level. No palpitations but my cholesterol went to the roof and if I go to the supermarket I get frozen. I am looking for a new endocrinologist.

Good luck!

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Thank you. I am trying also to find a new doctor. Today i am going and i hope he will understand me better.. good luck to you too!

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Absolutely right, do keep up whatever exercise you can manage, preferably outside (weather permitting). I've been poorly and confined to the house (sometimes confined to bed/chair!) and I've lost so much strength in my legs it's unbelievable! Had to go to the dentist last week and took a walk around the high street, which I haven't done for weeks. I was exhausted by the time I got home 😟.

Obviously every person is different and I know some here will say I'm wrong, but that's been my experience. Hope you feel better soon.

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Thank you! Do u feel also dizzy when did happened? With weak muscles? Or lose of balance?

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