Hashimoto’s and exercise

It has been long known that regular physical activity is important for virtually every human being in order to maintain healthy body and mind. Physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, diabetes type 2, depression and bone and joint diseases [1].

In case of people suffering from Hashimoto’s, certain modifications or restrictions to exercise routines should be incorporated, in order to accommodate the specific needs of each person and the unique demands of the disease. But physical activity is still important to further prevent progression of the disease.

However, the topic of sports and Hashimoto’s is not thoroughly researched [2], but here are several things that we do know, or can conclude from the scientific research that has been published so far.

1. Too much sports might work against your thyroid

Too intense, too lengthy or too frequent exercise may not allow enough time for restoring normal levels of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 [3, 4].

As thyroid hormones are absolutely necessary for the utilization of our body’s energy reserves by all the cells, if they did not recover, you might feel unexpectedly tired after exercise.

General recommendations are to allow a day or two resting period between workouts, and to establish what is a good balance of exercise for yourself [3]. Try sticking to a certain routine for two weeks and track your energy and focus levels. This will help you find a good zone for you.

2. Sports are crucial to maintain healthy weight and healthy body

Regular exercise is indispensable for preventing health complications. It will improve insulin sensitivity [5, 6] (important for diabetes), reduce blood pressure [7] and reduce the risk of heart related complications [8, 9].

Whether you want to maintain or reduce your body weight, increase your muscle mass or anything else, it is good to track your activity and see if you have any side effects from exercise.

3. Regular sports are important for proper functioning of the immune system

Regular exercise strengthens the immune system, and makes us more resistant to certain infections, such as the common cold [10].

Doing sports reduces inflammation in the body [11, 12], which is a hallmark of autoimmune diseases. Exercising in regular intervals might help in reducing Hashimoto’s triggered flare-ups.

Physical exercise reduces stress levels, which are found in excess in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis [13]. Finding a correlation between regular sports activity and signs of autoimmune flare-ups, such as disturbed digestion, will help you to establish healthy routines that fit your personal health.

Have you found your good zone in sports or still looking for it, we would love to hear more: fill in our survey and find out how does it look for the others in the community.



1. Warburton DE, Nicol CW, Bredin SS. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. CMAJ. 2006;174(6):801–9.

2. Lankhaar JA, de Vries WR, Jansen JA, Zelissen PM, Backx FJ. Impact of overt and subclinical hypothyroidism on exercise tolerance: a systematic review. Res Q Exerc Sport. 2014;85(3):365–89.

3. Ciloglu F, Peker I, Pehlivan A, Karacabey K, Ilhan N, Saygin O, et al. Exercise intensity and its effects on thyroid hormones. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2005;26(6):830–4.

4. Al-Hashem F, Alkhateeb M, Al-Ani B, Sakr H, Khalil M. Exhaustive exercise and vitamins C and E modulate thyroid hormone levels at low and high altitudes. EXCLI J. 2012;11:487–94.

5. Young JC. Exercise prescription for individuals with metabolic disorders. Practical considerations. Sports Med. 1995;19(1):43–54.

6. Kelley DE, Goodpaster BH. Effects of physical activity on insulin action and glucose tolerance in obesity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31(11 Suppl):S619–23.

7. American College of Sports Medicine. Position Stand. Physical activity, physical fitness, and hypertension. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1993;25(10):i-x.

8. Paffenbarger RS, Jr., Jung DL, Leung RW, Hyde RT. Physical activity and hypertension: an epidemiological view. Ann Med. 1991;23(3):319–27.

9. Xiang GD, Pu J, Sun H, Zhao L, Yue L, Hou J. Regular aerobic exercise training improves endothelium-dependent arterial dilation in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism. Eur J Endocrinol. 2009;161(5):755–61.

10. Pedersen BK, Toft AD. Effects of exercise on lymphocytes and cytokines. Br J Sports Med. 2000;34(4):246–51.

11. Adamopoulos S, Parissis J, Kroupis C, Georgiadis M, Karatzas D, Karavolias G, et al. Physical training reduces peripheral markers of inflammation in patients with chronic heart failure. Eur Heart J. 2001;22(9):791–7.

12. Nicklas BJ, You T, Pahor M. Behavioural treatments for chronic systemic inflammation: effects of dietary weight loss and exercise training. CMAJ. 2005;172(9):1199–209.

13. Walter KN, Corwin EJ, Ulbrecht J, Demers LM, Bennett JM, Whetzel CA, et al. Elevated thyroid stimulating hormone is associated with elevated cortisol in healthy young men and women. Thyroid Res. 2012;5(1):13.