By Jim Rollince
As you may know, July is HIV awareness month. In honor of this important cause, Scrubadoo has invited a guest writer to talk about the benefits of exercise for people living with HIV.
Jim is a member of the creative writing department of Gym Source, a seller of home gym and training equipment including treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, arc trainers and more. Scrubadoo was recently invited to write for Jim’s blog, View from the Summit, and in return, he was nice enough to write for us! Here’s what he had to say:
A recent study conducted by The Aids Beacon investigated the effects of exercise on older HIV-negative adults and younger HIV-positive adults found that a mixture of strength-training and aerobic exercises helps in improving metabolic, muscle, and heart health in these groups. The review authors say that moderate exercise is helpful for older HIV-positive adults based upon their findings. They are recommending a mix of endurance and resistance training 3-5 times weekly to improve metabolic, cardiovascular, and muscle functioning.
From 20-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous resistance and aerobic exercise is recommended, three times weekly. They say this level of activity is safe and effective for adults who are older, and it helps in decreasing the symptoms and progression of the disease, as well as increasing the overall quality of life. The authors said that patients should set a heart rate goal during exercise that falls into a range between 50-90 percent of their maximum heart rate. They are advised to begin at low intensity and gradually increase by 5 percent in intensity weekly. Additionally, patients should stretch prior to their exercise routines for 5-10 minutes with the goal of preventing injury.
Exercise combats fatigue
Many HIV patients experience a good deal of fatigue during the day. This prevents them from carrying out their daily activities, and can sometimes deepen into depression. The good news is that moderate exercise increases energy levels. Generally, after about two weeks of regular, moderate exercise, people notice an increase in energy levels.
This effect also tends to have a positive effect on one’s sleep. When you exercise during the day, your body tends to be tired at night and you sleep soundly. This allows your body time to recover. People who exercise tend to sleep more deeply and soundly.
Exercise boost immune system function
One of the effects of HIV is that it gradually lowers the ability of one’s immune system to ward off infection. Exercise is known to boost immune system function and the activity of Natural killer T-cells. Combined with proper nutrition, exercise has the potential to increase blood counts — something that is vitally important for those with HIV.
If the patient has a stronger immune system, he will be better equipped to deal with any opportunistic infection that may come along as a result of his compromised immune system.
Mood-boosting effects of exercise
Exercise is also known to raise mood levels. Certain chemicals are released during exercise that counter anxiety and depression. And those effects are normally seen during and immediately after a good workout.
There are a wide variety of exercise options available for those living with HIV. If you fall into that category, you might consider training at home. You can invest in home gym equipment like treadmills or an elliptical. These exercises are low-impact and you can go at your own individual pace and intensity.
The important thing is to get moving and find an exercise you enjoy and that you can perform at a moderate intensity.