It may be a tiny gland, but having problems with your thyroid can lead to devastating consequences for the body. The thyroid gland produces a hormone that influences every cell, tissue and organ in the body. It is also responsible for regulating your metabolism, which is the process that converts what you eat and drink into energy.
Worryingly, up to 60 per cent of people with thyroid disease are unaware of their status, with females being eight times more likely to suffer with thyroid issues. To determine whether you have thyroid disease, all you need to do is take a simple blood test, although there are several signs and symptoms that can be used to diagnose hypothyroidism. If you find yourself gaining weight, feeling sluggish or fatigued, with dry skin, muscle weakness and an increased sensitivity to cold, it could be due to hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a disorder in which the thyroid gland does not make enough of the thyroid hormone. This is a lifelong condition, and if it goes undiagnosed the signs and symptoms can gradually become more severe, causing serious health complications such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and infertility.
Although it is a lifelong condition, there is treatment for hypothyroidism that involves taking a daily hormone replacement tablet. Exercise is also thought to play a significant role in thyroid hormone production and managing the symptoms.
Being physically active increases metabolism and has been shown to increase the rate at which a person burns calories during and also after exercise, which combats the weight gain associated with hypothyroidism.
Studies have also shown that moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise can stimulate the thyroid gland to produce higher amounts of the hormone, leading to an increase in the amount of thyroid hormone circulating in the body.
If you are already active and are still experiencing issues with weight gain, it may be due to the type of activity you are engaging in. Not all forms of exercise are equal; exercise intensity has been shown to have a direct correlation with thyroid function.
Low-intensity exercises, such as yoga, do not boost thyroid levels effectively; moderate intensity activity like jogging has been shown to increase the thyroid gland. And high intensity exercises, such as sprinting, have been shown to have the greatest impact on the thyroid hormone production.
Exercise may increase thyroid function during and after exercise, but if you are not engaging in regular physical activity the thyroid gland will not continue to be stimulated. Consistency is definitely an important factor when trying to ensure your metabolism is kept at a healthy level, so make sure you are working out most days of the week at a moderate to high intensity to ensure you are receiving the greatest benefits to help combat hypothyroidism.
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