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Exercise and HIV/AIDS:

More and More studies are showing the importance of exercise in living long and well with HIV/AIDS.  Here is an introductory article about HIV & Exercise.  For more information check out the web links below.

Want to help get people living with HIV/AIDS access to exercise facilities who otherwise couldn't afford to go?  Please consider making a donation to: The Guardian Fitness Fund.


HIV & Exercise
By: Alex G.  and James F. Taylor

Now that more people are getting the message and living longer, we need to deal with the long-term side effects of HIV and HIV medications, some of which can be hazardous to your health. As you may personally know, or heard about, some of these side effects may include the rise of bad cholesterol (LDL), lowering of the good cholesterol (HDL), increased triglycerides, high blood pressure, the loss of lean body mass, abnormal fat redistribution (lipodystrophy) and unwanted fat loss (lipoatrophy).

Some people may even develop diabetes or hyperglycemia. It is suspected that these problems with blood sugar (related to developing insulin resistance) may be a significant contributing factor in lipodystrophy.

Living with these side effects can be difficult and sometimes depressing, especially when we see our bodies taking on changes that are noticeable to others (i.e. facial wasting, muscle loss, or fat gain).

But these conditions are not only of cosmetic concern, and may pose very serious health risks to people living with HIV/AIDS. Did you know, for example, it is possible to die of a heart attack from having too little of the good cholesterol (HDL) as well as too much of the bad cholesterol (LDL)?

We take HIV medications because they have been shown to reduce the amount of HIV in our blood. HIV medications do not boost the immune system, but by controlling HIV they give our damage systems a chance to recover.

So wouldn’t it be nice if they came up with a drug that would help:

 Reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) and blood fats (tryglycerides)
 Increase the good cholesterol (HDL)
 Help strengthen muscles and regain lost lean body mass
 Help strengthen our cardio vascular system
 Help lower blood pressure
 Help improve the way we look and feel about our selves
 Help boost the immune system

Well, at present there is no one drug that does all of the above. However, research is showing that these are some of the possible benefits of a good exercise program with added special attention to diet for people with HIV/AIDS. In some areas there are programs that offer assistance with access to exercise programs, health clubs, and gyms.

Many people think that going to a gym to exercise is a luxury. For people living with HIV/AIDS it is a necessity. Many long term survivors know that in order to living long and well with HIV you not only have to take your medications, but you also need to pay attention to your diet, exercise, rest, and stress management.

It is sad to think that only financially stable people can afford to go to gyms and get the care they need. Hopefully as more people learn about living with HIV and the side effects of HIV medications, there will be help to make sure that everyone has access to exercise facilities and nutritional guidance.

Until then, try to get out and get some exercise when and where you are able. Take brisk walks, go hiking in the woods, do floor exercises (push ups, sit-ups) or try some weight/resistance training. Of course it is always best to consult your physician first before embarking on any exercise program – they may even have a few good tips or refer you to others who can help you.

For More Information:


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