Which Exercise is Best for Thyroid and Adrenal Health?

By Lucy Rose Clinic

September 21, 2021

Today is #FitnessDay, and that inspired today’s topic.

Exercise can seem like a dirty word when you are suffering with thyroid imbalances! But you may be happy to know that the type of exercise that is right for your body may be totally different than you expect!

So let’s talk about the adrenals role in exercise and how exercise can heal or damage our glands.

Exhaustion Phase

If you are in an exhaustion phase all your stress hormones are probably low. The adrenals are tired of working so hard, you could say they are on strike. If in this state, you may feel overwhelmed, teary, can drop to sleep when you sit down, and sleep for more than 9 hours a night but wake unrefreshed.
Exercise will easily deplete the body, hinder recovery, and damage the glands further.
Instead, opt for restorative and nourishing forms of exercise, such as gentle walks, tai chi, restorative yoga, and gentle movement.

Adaptive Stage

The majority of people we see fall into this category. Despite popular belief, it can be detrimental for you to do high-intensity cardio exercise like running if you’re in a state of adrenal adaption or exhaustion. It is important to know where your adrenal health currently is and apply the right form of movement to support your health and weight loss/ wellbeing journey.
In the adaptive phase, the adrenals are aiming to regulate stress hormones from long-term stress. This is common with suboptimal thyroid function, as the adrenals are the backup plan for energy when the thyroid is low. This is also why so many people don’t realise they have a thyroid problem! The body has its checks and measures to keep you going until things start to wear out and symptoms appear.
This phase of adrenal stress requires lower intensity movement and naturopathic support to correct nutritional imbalances, support toxin build-up clearance, and balance the system back to its natural state of wellness.

The Normal Phase

If you actually have no symptoms, feel better after a workout, and don’t fall into a heap within 48 hours of doing exercise, then your adrenal health will be pretty sound.
But I am guessing this may not be you…let me know!
When adrenal health is resilient like this, then exercise is of great benefit to the thyroid. It upregulates hormone demand, pushing the thyroid to make more hormones. It also improves cellular uptake of all the hormones as well as glucose, improves mental function, increases muscle tone, and aids fat loss. Your metabolism after exercise can stay elevated for as long as 15 minutes to 48 hours depending on the intensity. This means you burn calories even at rest. This is awesome for weight loss, as well as for the health of the entire body!
An example of a workout plan for a thyroid patient with balanced adrenals:

>> Weight résistance training 2 x week

>> HIIT training – 2 x week

>> Yoga or Pilates – 1 x week

But this only applies if your adrenals are balanced.

Pushing the body with adrenal imbalance can eventually lead to a complicated thyroid imbalance called reverse T3 dominance. This may present in a way that exercise used to make you feel good, but now it doesn’t and you are feeling tired on waking, noticing hair loss, feeling the cold especially in the hands and feet.

1st step – know the status of your adrenals and thyroid with functional testing.

2nd step – exercise to support your body correctly.

3rd step – tune into your body every day to assess your post-workout recovery time, and amend your workout demands accordingly.

If you need a functional health coach, book a free appointment and we can get you started to the best health possible!


Wake up tired booking link

Related Content


Does PCOS end at menopause?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age. It is characterised by hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction, and polycystic ovaries. While

Read More

Thyroid and ADHD Connection

Children’s health can be complex, influenced by the growth of the mind & body, and today’s article explores the potential link between thyroid and ADHD,

Read More