How much exercise you do now, not only influences the quality of life you experience presently, but also how well you will age
Exercise, exercise, exercise. Oh, we hear so much about how we are all supposed to do it. Unfortunately by ignoring the call to exercise NOW we are, in a sense, agreeing to a declining quality of daily life. The call to exercise is really a call to ensure that we go into the future living each day with optimum health and vitality.
When living with HIV this is even more significant. It is so important to do everything possible to support your body and immune system to combat the effects of the AIDS virus. All forms of exercise enhance the body’s metabolism. The stronger a person’s metabolism the more resilient the body will be. Resistance, or weight bearing exercise, is especially important for people with HIV as this form of exercise helps build muscle which helps in countering the muscle wasting that is associated with the disease.
Exercise, like running, skipping and swimming, also boosts metabolism and builds the cardiovascular system. Both forms of exercise help to build a positive mood. This is as a result of the ‘happy’ hormones that are released during exercise. So exercise also helps to relieve some of the stress that a person may be experiencing.
The key thing to remember is that if you are already exercising, please do continue, but if you are only starting out, please go slowly. Start with 20 minutes 3 times a week. Do not ever work out till exhaustion. Since so many people seem to find it difficult to get out and do exercise, it would be great to get an exercise buddy, whether they are HIV positive or not, and just start doing something together. It is amazing what you will be able to achieve with a supportive, committed exercise buddy.
For general information about healthy exercise log onto the MEMBER PORTAL and scroll down to Road to wellness: General Health for general exercise tips. For specific exercise guidelines for HIV scroll to Road to wellness: HIV
Try to find a form of exercise you enjoy. Many people enjoy yoga. CLICK HERE. This site offers a variety of free yoga sessions that you can do at home, and with great teachers.
If you are going to the gym and do not have a personal trainer, the ‘Body For Life ’website is filled with useful information on general exercise. Please remember if you are starting out go gently! CLICK HERE. There is a great Body For Life, 20 minute cardio programme where you to start the exercise session with the quality of intensity that is related to how you are feeling physically and mentally at the moment. So on the days when you are full of energy you will start at a higher level. On days when you may be feeling less energetic, you can still exercise, but you start at a lower level, and go as far as you feel is good for you that day. This is a really important concept, especially for those with lowered immune system functioning.
It is the same with the resistance training; on good days you work harder, and on days where you are experiencing less vitality you start at a lower level. On the Body for Life website click the ‘Tools’ tab to find animations of the exercises
It is all about building an awareness and a conscious connection with your body, and working with what you know is good for your it, never ever pushing your body to exhaustion.
It would be advisable to discuss your exercise plan with your doctor just to ensure you are on the right track.