Aging with Hashimoto’s means looking after your mitochondria — the energy factories in your cells. Mitochondria function diminishes as we age, however, new research shows regular bursts of high intensity exercise improve mitochondrial function.
Regular exercise is a magic bullet when it comes to staying physically and mentally agile into the elder years. Any exercise is better than none, but some forms have more benefits than others.
When it comes to improving cellular mitochondria and thus slowing aging, intervals of high intensity exercise is the best. This means exercising to boost your heart rate to healthy upper thresholds for several minutes at a time, with rests in between.
Interval exercise also turns on biochemical processes that dampen inflammation improve blood flow and brain health — these factors will help you better manage Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
How different forms of exercise affect aging
A recent Mayo Clinic study showed how different types of exercise affect cellular health.
The study divided healthy but sedentary men and women under the age of 30 and over the age of 64 into several exercise groups:
- Vigorous weight-lifting several times a week.
- Interval training three times a week on stationary bikes ( 3 sets of pedaling hard for 4 minutes and resting for 3 minutes).
- Mild weight lifting and moderate pedaling on a stationary bike throughout the week.
- No exercise.
The groups who exercised gained better blood sugar control and fitness after three months compared to the sedentary group. The vigorous weight lifters gained muscle mass while the interval exercises gained endurance.
However, the interval exercisers showed the most cellular improvement. The under-30 interval exercisers showed changes in 274 genes, compared to 170 genes in the moderate mixed exercise group and 74 genes in the weight lifters.
The surprise was in the older group — the older interval exercisers showed changes in 400 genes, compared to only 19 for the older moderate exercisers and 33 for the older weight lifters.
In other words, interval exercising is the most best at any stage of life, but it’s much more beneficial the older you are compared to other forms of exercise.
Interval exercise is also beneficial because it improves blood flow and oxygenation and dampens inflammation. When done safely, this makes it an excellent adjunct to a Hashimoto’s low thyroid protocol.
How interval exercise improves aging and Hashimoto’s low thyroid management
The researchers believe interval training is so beneficial because it increases mitochondria and mitochondria health. This means more energy for muscles (including the heart), better brain function, and better recovery and regeneration.
This means better immune and thyroid function, and keeping the overzealous nature of the autoimmune process in Hashimoto’s low thyroid in check.
The study shows it is never too late to exercise, especially if you do interval training. Another bonus is interval training requires less time than other forms.
How to interval train for better cellular and thyroid health
To interval train, simply push yourself to your maximum effort for several minutes several times in your routine, with short periods of rest in between sets. Work within your capacity and don’t over train — over exercising causes inflammation and can damage mitochondria. This will not only speed up aging, it will also make your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism worse.
Ask my office for more advice on the best way to exercise for optimal aging and Hashimoto’s low thyroid management.
How to learn if you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid
Many patients are not diagnosed with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s until after several years and going through several doctors. It is a demoralizing journey richly illustrated in my book The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, through real-life stories from patients in my practice. Managing Hashimoto’s goes far beyond using thyroid medication as you must work to stop the immune system from attacking the thyroid. For more information on identifying and managing Hashimoto’s low thyroid, contact my office.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto’s Low Thyroid Disease, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto’s disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto’s, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here.