Exercise can be helpful for those with an underactive thyroid. It can boost a slow metabolism and burn calories, on a frame that is prone to putting on unwanted weight. Endorphins and other friendly chemicals are also released during exercise.
Yoga stretches and strengthens core muscles. It can reduce pain in the back and hips that may be experienced with hypothyroidism.
Lisa Lilienfield, MD, a thyroid disease specialist at the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine in McLean, Virginia, and a certified yoga instructor, encourages those with thyroid disorders to engage in exercise.
Because people with hypothyroidism may struggle with exhaustion, Lilienfield recommends that beginning an exercise program should be slow and gentle, which makes yoga a good place to start.
As patients progress, she says that they may experience a reduction in symptoms such as depression, excess weight and fatigue.
Dr. Andrew Weil, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine of the College of Medicine, University of Arizona, said in an article on Drweil.com that positive reports have come from many patients who have found the shoulder stand to be beneficial. This is a yoga pose that is intended to boost circulation to the thyroid.
He cautions pregnant women and women who are nursing not do this pose. People with glaucoma, high blood pressure or sinus problems should not do the shoulder stand.
Merel Martens, a yoga instructor in Dharamsala, India, and founder of Parimukti Yoga & Meditation said that yoga may help to balance the endocrine system.
In an article on Everydayhealth.com, she said that the fish pose, the plow pose, and the shoulder stand are yoga positions that may be beneficial for the massage the thyroid gland, and greater blood flow.
1) Shoulder Stand — Sarvangasana
Start out on your back with arm at your sides, palms facing up.
Raise your legs, right angle to the floor. Raise your hips until your chin rests on your chest. Support yourself with hands on hips, and your upper arms and elbows on the floor.
Your neck and shoulders need to be flat on the floor. Keep your torso and legs as straight as you can.
Stay in this position as long as it is comfortable. Over time, see if you can increase to five minutes a day.
2) Fish Pose — Matsyasana
The fish pose is a type of back bend intended to open the throat and chest.
Lie on your back. Come up on your elbows. Slide toward teh back of your mat, with your forearms in place. Raise up your chest while you do this.
Lower the crown of your head to the floor with your throat still open.
To end, press into your forearms and raise your head from the floor. Lower your upper body to the floor.
3) Plow Pose — Halasana
Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your palms on the floor.
Inhale, using your abdominal muscles to lift your feet off the floor. Raise your legs into the supported shoulder stand or Salamba Sarvangasana.
Breathe evenly throughout.
Use your core muscles and bend from your hips. Bring your legs slowly over your body till you feet reach the floor.
Your torso should be perpendicular to the floor. Your legs should be as extended as possible.
Push your shoulder blades back, squeeze them together while you push your chin into your chest.
Keep your back perpendicular to the floor. Make sure there is no curve or bend to your back. Your legs should be straight out from your hips, reaching the floor with flexed feet.
Relax and breathe evenly for up to one minute. A shorter time is fine if you are just beginning and if that is more comfortable for you.
Put your hands on your back as support. Lift your legs over your head and hold for a moment. Lower your hips slowly to the floor and roll to your back.
The Hypothyroidism Workout. Everydayhealth.com. Retrieved Jan. 31, 2016.
Thyroid Disease and Diet — Nutrition Plays a Part in Maintaining Thyroid Health By Cheryl Harris, MPH, RD. Todaysdietitian.com. Retrieved Jan. 30, 2016.
Andrew Weil, MD. Integrativemedicine.arizona.edu. Retrieved Jan. 31, 2016.
Hypothyroidism. Drweil.com. Retrieved Jan. 31, 2016.
5 Complementary Therapies for Hypothyroidism. Everydayhealth.com. Retrieved Jan. 30, 2016.
5 Complementary Therapies for Hypothyroidism. . Everydayhealth.com. Retrieved Jan. 31, 2016.
Fish Pose - Matsyasana. About.com. Retrieved Jan. 31, 2016.
Plow Pose. Drweil.com. Retrieved Jan. 31, 2016.
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Reviewed February 1, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN