Cardio Exercise and Thyroid Disease: What am I Running From?

Many of us with Hashimoto’s and autoimmune conditions are cut from a similar cloth. Type A, highly intuitive and sensitive to energy. Our bodies constantly absorb and process physical and emotional energy. This plays into our energy source. Protecting that source is imperative to sustaining health and balance. Maintaining this energy within my physical exercise routine was another surprisingly significant part of the puzzle. Adhering to physical activity that balances my daily energy expenditure is key to maintaining a healthy state while living with autoimmunity. It is a transitional pattern, an ebb and flow while listening to my body. I value movement and make it a priority in my daily routine. The question around movement is constant. Why, when and how much? Where does the drive come from and how to utilize it successfully? 

Years ago, I enjoyed moving in the morning. “Get Er Done” before kids, family and work commitments consumed the day. However, when my autoimmune symptoms were at their worst, the intense morning exercise regimen wasn’t supportive. I was burning unavailable energy and paying for it. So why did I continue? Maintaining the routine fed a sense of control. It was a distraction from what was happening. It was easier to run away than to sit in the muck, acknowledge my sickness and listen to my body. 

Tweaking the process has been key. Nowadays, I honor that I am a morning person and feel the need to move my body upon waking. Instead of hitting the treadmill, I have begun a practice of self-care that feels like movement and doesn’t tax my body. Foam rolling, stretching and light resistance is a better fit. Cardio is more inclined to promote a flare so I tread lightly in that arena. I save cardio for lunchtime or after-work with a clear idea of the energy available. This practice takes time and patience but I have found success in creating space for it. 

We are all bio-individuals with varying needs of movement and rest. Stillness is a practice I’ve learned to integrate into my lifestyle.  At times it can be a real struggle. Leaving the glass full enough to spill into tomorrow requires mindfulness and patience. I need physical activity to support my health goals.  It supports my high-energy personality and reduces stress. Time in the outdoors makes me whole and my day would not be complete without it. However, when I am stressed, anxious, or amid hormonal shifts flares come easy. I have to adjust my vibration and expenditure to ensure enough rest and downtime to counter these obstacles. This practice allows exercise to play a healthy role in my daily lifestyle and has been an imperative part of healing. Acknowledging the way it all correlates has been immensely helpful on my journey. My compartmentalized routine had to blur. Viewing my body as a whole allowed for energy to flow in a healthy rhythm. 

My intention in this post is to encourage you to assess your movement and energy. What are you absorbing throughout the day via work, family, friends and daily stress? How does this affect your homeostasis? Have you considered the way you process energy and how it affects your output? Is exercise serving you or throwing fuel on the fire? Just like food, lifestyle, and supplementation, exercise is another key player in healing. Are you running from yourself or onto the path of true healing? Give yourself permission to slow down, reflect and assess what best serves your energy day-to-day. Allow flexibility and let your body be the guide. Stillness and movement are both useful tools. Create space to plug into the energy sources necessary to sustain optimal health. Allow time for internal communication and be kind to yourself. 

It’s a journey…

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