7 Ways to Boost Your Energy with Hypothyroidism
If you have hypothyroidism and you feel like you're dragging yourself through your daily routines, you probably are.
Your thyroid is a small endocrine gland in the front of your neck below your larynx that produces hormones that regulate your metabolism. When it's not producing enough of the hormones called T3 and T4, your body has trouble creating energy from the food that you eat. As a result, your metabolism slows way down. You start to feel tired, sluggish, and maybe even forgetful. On top of that, you start to gain weight.
In other words, you need an energy boost. Try these seven strategies to feel more energized:
1. Choose cardio.
Aerobic exercise is good for you, regardless of your hypothyroidism. It helps you burn calories to lose any extra pounds you might have gained. Cardiovascular exercise also produces endorphins that will improve your mood. So, get up, get those arms and legs moving, and get your heart rate up. Aim for 150 minutes of moderately intense activity per week.
2. Lift weights.
Build and maintain muscle mass by incorporating some strength-training exercise into your life. If you're already logging 150 minutes of moderately intense cardiovascular exercise, then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests adding two weekly strength-training workouts to your calendar. Work on all your major muscle groups for maximum benefit.
3. Make sure your medication dose is correct.
Doctors typically prescribe a hormone replacement called levothyroxine for people with hypothyroidism—it replaces the amount of T4 that your thyroid can't produce. According to the American Thyroid Association, your symptoms should lessen and maybe even disappear if you're taking the correct dose of medicine. However, the appropriate dose may need to change over your lifetime. Additionally, some people find themselves tossing and turning from insomnia at night, and it's possible that their thyroid medication may be a contributing factor. Consult your doctor if you feel like the medicine might not be working as well as it should.
4. Improve your diet.
If you're dragging yourself to the coffee pot several times a day in search of a caffeine-packed energy boost, consider your diet. Eating a diet that's heavy on the fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean sources of protein is your goal. Replace full-fat dairy with reduced-fat versions, and consider having a snack of nuts or legumes, which provide protein and micronutrients.
5. Drink more water.
Speaking of coffee consumption, how much water are you drinking in a typical day? Women should aim for about nine cups of water per day, and men should try to guzzle down about 13 cups. Those are only guidelines, however, and you may need to increase your water consumption if you're exercising, or if the weather is particularly warm.
6. Take a nap.
You're beat. Try taking a power nap to recoup a little bit of lost energy. The key to a successful nap is length. The National Sleep Foundation recommends taking a 20-minute power nap to ward off that feeling of exhaustion—but don't sleep longer than that because you're more likely to feel groggy afterward.
7. Get moving.
You don't have to plan a full-fledged workout. Even a short walk can make you feel a little more alive and kicking. If you're at work, trying pacing around your office while you're on the phone. Or take a short break and go outside for some fresh air and a brisk walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. It might also help you warm up, since people with hypothyroidism tend to experience some cold intolerance as a result of their slowed-down metabolism.