Hemophilia Fitness routine
Fitness for Life That Also Builds Better Veins!
I want to encourage you as an adult or child with hemophilia to get fit. I have always been passionate about fitness and I guess it goes back to the fact that I could not play sports when I was growing up in the 70’s. I wanted to at least look the part and be stronger than my friends to help my self-esteem. I wanted them to think that even though I did not play sports that I was at least strong and fit. Ok, so what are the best things to do and what have I done. It all started with swimming and biking. My dad got me a bike when I was about three years old and from then on I was “bike crazy”. I truly believe it helped me to not develop a target knee. Think about it, I am 43 yrs old, severe f-8 and was not on prophylaxis, like I am today, and to make things even worse was on Cryoprecipitate till I was 18yrs old too and my ankle is my only target joint. I am truly a small miracle with the few bad joints I have today. And, both swimming and biking have helped to strengthen my ankle.
In my opinion, you need to focus on low impact strengthening exercises to build your muscles. Remember, a strong muscle bleeds less and heels faster!! I will tell you with the triple H’s it has truly saved my life to stay fit. And at 43, I am still able to leave most of my friends on the mountain bike trails that do not have hemophilia or any other excuse except just being lazy. As an adult, I would encourage you to really build around the good joints you have. Everybody has specific issues and the important thing is you do not make your joints worse but better.
If you are a parent, you really need to be active with your child! It will be very rare if your child is a fitness nut like I am on his own. I will say most children are an offshoot of their environment. If you are not into fitness they probably will not be either. I know with my two and a half year old son I am already teaching him about exercising and it will be a way of life for him. It is that much more important for a young person with a bleeding disorder. In my opinion, the advent of video games has really taken away the spirit of exercise out of children’s daily routine like when most of us were young.
I will tell you there are so many positive things that being in shape will do for you as a bleeder. For instance, If you are HIV + or HEP C+, when you raise your heart rate that in turn stimulates endorphins which help your immune system and will just give your body a stronger foundation to work with. If you are both, same thing happens. As my doctor always tells me good clean living has served me well and you will always see people do a lot better that are co-infected that are in shape.
Andy’s routine exercises to keep in shape:
1. At least once a week I hit the mountain bike trails for a hard ride through all types of technical stuff that challenge my whole body but really is very easy on all my joints, other than give them a good muscle and awesome cardiovascular workout! (that is if you don’t wreck and I always wear a helmet) If you are a parent try to get your kid on a bicycle early and do it with him when he or she is older. If you are an adult there are so many types of bicycles you could start with but the great thing is for the most part it is a non weight bearing exercise so that is what makes it great for our joints!!
2. I try to hit the gym at least once or twice a week for about a 45 minute workout. I would add, I have been working out for years and the best thing you could do is hire a few sessions with a personal trainer and first talk to your physical therapist at your HTC if you have one. Tell both of them you have hemophilia and need exercises that build strength without damaging any of your joints. My workouts consist of:
A. lots of pull ups (awesome exercise and not hard on the joints and you get three exercises all in one. If you can’t do pull ups, start with lat pull downs)
B. Inverted leg press machine and do high reps and low weight. (15-30 reps with about 3-4 sets) Also it’s a great way to work your ankle and many times it is easier on it than most exercises but it is not the best if you have bad knees.
C. Hamstring machine is also a great one and most people can do this one and it is not very hard on the knee at all, it helps stabilize your whole joint and will burn, burn, burn!!!
C. I do about three bench press sets and either the incline bench press machine or flat bench. If you had minor elbow problems you could do bench flys with a lighter weight and that might take some stress off the joints.
3. I walk a lot and very fast walking. Best solution is to get a Fox Terrier like I have because she definitely sets the pace for me which is as fast as you can walk. You are your own gauge as to what you can do but most guys with hemophilia can walk more than they do. It’s a great way to drop weight and build muscles somewhat and a great thing to do with your family and pets.
4. I also do a lot of pushups of all kinds. My favorite right now is doing them with the”Perfect Push Up’s” (perfect pushup.com). Pushups are awesome and you can do them anywhere but I would recommend doing them with some type of push up bars to make it easier on your wrist!!
5. Building your core. Everyone can own an exercise ball and almost everyone can build their core and much more with the ball at home or at the Gym. I really like having these at home so I can regularly do my ball exercises and pushups. No matter how bad your joints are there is probably some exercises you could do with the ball. Very easy on the joints!! http://www.qfac.com/gear/balls2.html
6. Building your grip which will give you great veins too. I use my “gripprotrainer” grips often and they make them in 3 different strengths. These round hand grips are awesome for building forearms/grip and a bonus of building great veins. If you are a hemophiliac you know the importance of veins, they are your lifeline! Go to www.gripprotrainer.com to order some and you too will start building veins for life.
7. Lastly, in the summer I do some swimming and used to swim on a team. Swimming is really about the best exercise someone can do but is hard to do on a regular basis throughout the year. It’s a great thing to teach kids to do at a very early age. I cannot tell you how many kids I find at camp every year that cannot swim or cannot swim very well. If you have bad joints or even if you don’t, swimming or some type of water exercises are really going to be great!
I want to conclude that these are the exercises I do for me and I urge you to check with your doctor or physical therapist to make sure you are doing the best exercises for you and your joints. The main thing is to get on a schedule and do not veer from it. Be disciplined and you will notice results. Good luck and email me anytime if I can be an encouragement to you! Andytag@aol.com