Physical exercise improves symptoms associated with thyroid disease

For those suffering from thyroid disease, exercise may be far from the top of the list of priorities. But Dr. Inês Sapinho, an endocrinologist, confirms that, just as for the general population, physical activity also has advantages for these patients. In fact, “the fact that regular physical exercise is not practiced and adapted to age and physical condition, in itself leads to a worsening of the general state and an increase in tiredness. Symptoms often attributed to changes in thyroid function, which in this way can improve ”, he underlines, in a message left within the scope of the World Day of Physical Activity, marked today, on April 6th.

“Recognized as a triggering factor for well-being and that contributes to the improvement of mood”, physical exercise is, for this reason, “essential to improve the quality of life, that patients with thyroid disorders feel so altered”. But beware: these benefits will only be felt “if thyroid function tests are normal”. Otherwise, “if thyroid function is altered, with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, it will be difficult to perform day-to-day activities, let alone exercise. The doctor will certainly recommend the reduction, or even its suspension, until the thyroid function normalizes. What is easy to understand, knowing that thyroid hormones act on the heart and the respiratory system and, consequently, on the ability to respond to exercise ”, clarifies Dr. Inês Sapinho.

The expert recommends “associating aerobic exercise with muscle strength exercise”, which she considers “the most complete workout. The first improves cardiac and respiratory function, the lipid profile and the loss of fat mass, and the second maintains and develops muscle mass ”. And, by the way, “choosing an activity that gives pleasure, which one likes”, is halfway to success, especially in times of pandemic, when, according to data from the Directorate-General for Health (DGS), more than half of those surveyed in a study published in May 2020 confirm that they have reduced physical activity, with less than 1/5 seeing an increase.

Even so, Dr. Inês Sapinho points out that many of her patients have taken advantage of this moment to increase the practice of physical activity, considering it “as the great help to deal with the existing feeling of frustration”.

In addition to the regular practice of physical exercise, the doctor also warns that following “a balanced and adequate diet is fundamental for well-being and, obviously, for the proper functioning of the thyroid”.


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