Anyone who knows me well, knows I am a lover of exercise! I have been around Blantyre gyms: Pro-Fitness, College of Medicine Sports Complex, Blantyre Sports Club even the small gym that used to be upstairs next to the old Jungle Pepper years back. You can catch me jumping up and down in an aerobics class or running around the golf club or even occasionally lifting weights.
Exercise has several rewards. Some are more immediate like reducing anxiety, stress and depression, a better appetite and others more long-term like healthier heart and lungs and higher energy levels. Exercise also provides a safe environment to release any pent up emotions or stress. It can also help with more restful sleep.
Exercise is believed to strengthen the immune system. Some studies have shown temporary increases in CD4 counts immediately after exercise. However, these increases do not last. What is important to note is that exercise does not lower CD4 counts in people with HIV and that exercise has many healthy benefits.
Start by setting yourself a goal, to get fit or lose weight or build muscle mass. Loss of muscle mass and strength is often seen in people with untreated HIV, and exercise can help prevent or delay this. Some older anti-HIV drugs can cause changes in body fat called lipodystrophy.
These changes include the accumulation of fat around the waist and breasts, as well as loss of fat on the limbs. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce fat accumulation in people with lipodystrophy, while helping to build muscle in the areas where fat has been lost. On the other hand, a person who is experiencing involuntary weight loss like wasting should not undertake strenuous exercise.
Choose exercise that is right for your goals. Resistance training involves using weights and aerobic exercise gets your heart and lungs pumping. Aerobic exerciseâ€”jogging, cycling, aerobicsâ€”is good for losing weight while resistance training builds up muscle mass and muscle strength.
Resistance training is recommended for people with HIV who have difficulty maintaining enough body weight. Studies have found that properly designed resistance training routines safely help HIV-positive people build strength and lean body mass. If you are trying to build muscle mass, this must be complemented with an adequate, healthy diet with a lot of protein and other essential nutrients from which to build new muscle.
So, letâ€™s get exercisingâ€¦.set your goals, find something you enjoy, start slow and steady. Exercising does not have to involve expensive gym membership, it can be as cheap as taking a walk around your neighbourhood.
Remember although that high-intensity exercise may be safe for many otherwise fit and healthy HIV-positive people, it should be avoided by anyone with active symptoms. A lot of us think of exercise as an onerous duty (â€œI suppose I shouldâ€), rather than something to look forward to and enjoy. It does not have to be.
Exercise is one of the things that is good for us that we can enjoy, that we should enjoy! -Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org