How To Exercise For Your Thyroid

how to exercise thyroid

Is your current exercise routine sabotaging your thyroid health?

If you have a thyroid condition, you may be experiencing one or more of the following when it comes to exercise:

  • You’re exhausted and can’t imagine attempting exercise or even making it to the gym
  • You’re making exercise a regular habit but you find that it takes you forever to recover and you experience lots of muscle or joint pain afterward
  • You’re working out like crazy and are beyond frustrated that your best efforts at the gym aren’t getting you any closer to your goals

If any of the above sounds familiar, read on!

Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Disease can make exercise a challenge. Why? A low thyroid also means a low metabolism. Even if you’re taking medication and your thyroid labs are “normal” your metabolism could still be suffering.

First and foremost is to make sure your thyroid labs (especially your free T3) are optimal so you have the stamina and energy to make it through your day AND get some exercise in. With optimal labs you will also recover faster from exercise and experience less muscle and joint pain.

Secondly, (and this is the important part!) the type and length of exercise can make a big difference for hypothyroid folks.

Did you know that high intensity or extended periods of exercise can actually lower your Free T3 (your most active thyroid hormone) and increases your Reverse T3?

This combination is like a big brake pedal for your thyroid gland telling it so slooow down. For people with low thyroid function, this is the opposite of what we want!

Here are some questions to ask yourself to help decide if your current exercise plan is right for you:

  1. How do you feel during exercise?
    If at any time you feel dizzy, lightheaded or fatigued during exercise it may be too strenuous.
  2. How do you feel after?
    After exercise, you should feel energized and upbeat due to the positive endorphins that are released with physical activity. If you’re feeling sore, exhausted, or like you need a nap, you may need to dial back the intensity of your workouts.
  3. Could you do the same exercise again?
    If the answer is yes, you’re exercising at the sweet spot of intensity (not too low and not too high)
  4. Do you enjoy it?
    Please, pick something you actually enjoy! Exercise doesn’t have to mean slugging it out at the gym day after day. Walking, hiking, yoga, biking, karate, swimming or mowing the lawn are all wonderful ways to move your body.

Here are my general recommendations on how to exercise for your thyroid:

  • Keep your exercise at a low to moderate intensity (less than 75% of your maximum heart rate) for approximately 30-40 minutes.
  • Avoid high-intensity cardio or extended periods of exercise. Don’t over do it – your body will interpret this as stress and will slow down your metabolism even more to conserve energy. Exercises to think twice about would include marathons, high-intensity spinning, or aggressive HIIT training.
  • Build muscle! Cardio is not king in the thyroid world. More muscle = better metabolism.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel good both during and after exercise, it’s likely a good choice for you.

Have questions? Book your Free Thyroid Assessment to learn more!

Dr. Katie Rothwell, ND

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16175498

Give up the Diets, not your Health

I was talking to a woman the other day who was so frustrated with her body.

“I just can’t lose this weight! I’ve done EVERY diet imaginable, it just won’t move. If anything I keep getting fatter!”, she said.  So I asked her, “Have you considered giving up the diets?” She looked at me with a sad sigh and responded “I’d love to. They don’t work. But what else can I do? My health is too important to me”.

One of the biggest objections to the #bodypositive movement was expressed by this woman. People believe that by giving up dieting and reclaiming their lives that they have to abandon their health.

It’s not true! Let me tell you why.

Body Positivity in the Media

Giving up the food rules is one of the ten principles of Intuitive Eating. Unfortunately, that’s often the only principle that people see on social media or blogs. Body loving coaches come out all ‘rah rah rah – screw the rules, eat the cake!’. And so, it goes.

Now look, the body positive movement is important for many social and political reasons. And I support it fully and completely. It’s what’s bringing attention to the fatphobic world that we live in, how women of size are being portrayed as weak and disgusting, and it’s shining light on the important topic of weight-bias in medicine. It is not a movement about health. It’s a movement about basic human rights. But that doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your health goals to be a part of this historic movement.

What about Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating isn’t just a buzz word. It’s a modeled process with scientific validity. To date there are over 75 studies looking at the merits of Intuitive Eating. Here are the highlighted benefits compared to the diet/restrict models:

  • increased self-esteem and self-acceptance
  • more consistent physical activity
  • decreased binge eating and other disordered eating habits
  • improved blood pressure
  • improved cholesterol levels (LDL, HDL and triglycerides)
  • weight maintenance or weight loss*

*I struggle including weight measures and only included it to calm those who are terrified that giving up dieting means gaining weight

So what can you do to give up dieting without compromising your health?

  1. Start to follow some body positive sites and pages. Read the information about how dieting fails to address the problem and only makes matters worse. By understanding the dangers you will less tempted when you see the ‘before and after’ pictures of the latest greatest program. More of my blogs are available at www.thedietrebellion.com and on Facebook.
  2.  Learn about Intuitive Eating from the ones who created it. www.intuitiveeating.org is a site full of valuable free resources. Buy the book and read through the whole thing.
  3. Find a coach, nutritionist or naturopath who has been trained in Intuitive Eating. Yes, I’m one of them. You can book a Food Sanity Session to find out more.

No matter what, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t ditch the diets without getting fat!

Dr. Kerri Fullerton ND

 2014 May;114(5):734-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.12.024. Epub 2014 Mar 14

3 Fertility Tracking Tools

We love to work with couples trying to start their family. Whether they are about the start tracking their cycles to start getting ready to try or they’ve been trying for a few years. There are always things we can help them with.

I’ve discovered 3 favourite fertility tracking tools that I love and I share with my patients. Here they are for you.

 

The Fertility App

Ok – everyone has an app for everything. And for each patient I see, they’ve got a new app. Lots of women rely on these to tell them when their fertile days are. However the majority of women have cycles that shift and only 10% of women actually ovulate on day 14 if they have a 28 day cycle. So, that leaves a lot of room for error.

My favourite fertility app is Kindara. It’s a free one that can track your cervical fluids, temperature, your period, your other things like mood, acne, PMS symptoms. It has a chart, a daily view and will do a cycle summary so you can see the length of your cycles over the months and years you may use the app. You can also switch back and forth from tracking to get pregnant or tracking to avoid pregnancy.

 

The Fertility Book

My favourite book has been around a long time and it’s had numerous editions. This is a great starting point for you and also a good life-long resource you may want to share with your daughters one day!

Taking Charge of Your Fertility goes in depth into the fertility signs your body gives you. No one teaches you this stuff!! I think we should go to high schools and let girls know about what’s normal and what’s not.

This book describes exactly how to track with temperature, cervical fluids and cervical position. There are even pictures and many charts to compare your own with.

 

The Fertility Strips

You can spend a lot of money on ovulation predictor kits and their fancy packaging at the pharmacy. We buy these strips online in bulk and sell them at the clinic in packs of 10 for your convenience.

LH strips or ovulation predictor kits are not for everyone. Remember our motto at the clinic is to “Make a Baby Without The Crazy.” So if these little strips are making you crazy…stop. It’s ok. you don’t have to use them. Some couples love them and feel like scientists when they are doing them. Each of you is different and your journeys are all different. Do what feels right, and stop what doesn’t, and try again later if you feel like it.

 

The Fertility Doc

I love helping couples on their fertility journeys and have worked with 100s of them now in our area. I’m like an Olympic Athlete Coach – I’ve coached people who’ve been there before. Those who have won medals and walked the path you want to walk on. I can tell you about the races, the pre-qualifying meets, tests, the mental game needed and how to take care of your body throughout.

If you’d like to see how I can help with your particular situation, book a Free Fertility Introduction Session with me at the clinic.

Talk soon,
Dr. Whitney

Little People, Big Eaters

How do we get our kids to love food and be healthy eaters for life?

That’s one of my personal missions and part of raising healthy, happy & hearty kids.

I recently spoke at Food Revolution Barrie about kids and nutrition. Here is the presentation I did. I’d love to hear what your biggest health issues are when it comes to kids.


Talk soon,

Whitney

Three reasons you still have symptoms on Synthroid

sick on synthroid

Synthroid (also know as levothyroxine) is a synthetic form of T4 and the most common medication prescribed for hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, many people continue to experience chronic and debilitating symptoms of hypothyroidism on Synthroid, including:
– fatigue
– weight gain
– brain fog
– hair loss
– low mood
– and more…

There are three BIG reasons why you still might have symptoms on Synthroid.

1. Your body isn’t using the medication efficiently.

While T4 is the most abundant hormone the thyroid produces, T3 is the most active form. T3 is the hormone that acts on all the cells in your body to create positive changes in energy and metabolism. In healthy persons, T4 is converted to T3 in the body naturally. However, for many people (especially with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s disease) this doesn’t happen properly.

Want to know if you’re producing T3 in proper amounts? Have your FT4 and FT3 tested, and then do this simple calculation: FT4 divided by FT3

An optimal result should be around 3, which means your body is efficiently producing T3.

Results over 3 indicate what thyroid experts call a “conversion issue”. This is a very common roadblock to feeling better on Synthroid but don’t worry, it can easily be improved.

Bottom line: You can have all the T4 in the world, but if your body isn’t converting it to T3, you may still feel hypothyroid.

2. You’re not addressing the root cause

The most common cause of hypothyroidism in North America is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Disease. This occurs when the body begins to attack the thyroid and slowly destroys the thyroid tissue, making it impossible to produce adequate hormone amounts naturally.

While medication can be an important part of feeling better with Hashimoto’s, it’s not enough. You need to address the inflammation and autoimmune process that created your thyroid problem in the first place.

If you have symptoms like joint pain, hives, chronic digestive concerns, or already have an autoimmune disease, you need to be properly assessed for Hashimoto’s. Read about The Seven Signs This Common Condition is Causing Your Thyroid Disorder for more information about Hashimoto’s Disease.

3. You have nutrient deficiencies

Low nutrient levels are very common with low thyroid function and can leave you with lingering symptoms of fatigue, hair loss, brain fog and more. I talk about the most common nutrients deficiencies and how to test for them in another blog post entitled The 3 Nutrients I Check in Every Single Thyroid Patient

What can you do?

  • Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about how to support optimal T3 levels with nutrient therapy that helps the body use Synthroid more effectively. You can also consider a thyroid medication that already contains T3. While Synthroid works well for some, others finally find symptom relief once switching to a different form medication.
  • Assess for Hashimoto’s Disease by asking for your thyroid antibodies (AntiTPO and TgAb) to be tested at your next lab work. If positive, get to work addressing your root cause to decrease inflammation and the autoimmune process.
  • Check your nutrient levels and supplement accordingly under the advice and care of your healthcare professional.

Have questions? We’re here to help!

Dr. Katie Rothwell, ND

Meet our new intern

Do you have a friend or family member who would benefit from seeing a naturopath but has limited funds? Now is the perfect opportunity to become a patient and get an individualized plan.

Francesca is joining our clinic this week for the next couple months to complete her naturopathic studies.

Her super powers: She’s a brilliant mom of 3 and has a special interest in fertility, pregnancy and babies. 

Francesca will be supervised by one of the naturopathic doctors at Rooted, so your friend or family member has the benefit of 2 people working on their plan.

Costs are reduced:

  • First Visit $60
  • Follow ups or Acupuncture $30

Contact the clinic or simply book online under “Student Intern”

See you soon!