Sport and exercise are good. They strengthen the joints and build up the muscles protecting them — making bleeds less likely.3,25
Just like anyone else, staying active and fit is important to your overall health. Plus, they are fun, are a good way to make friends, and are a good way to relieve stress.
Things to Consider When Choosing Your Sport
Biking is certainly a good option for most people who have hemophilia with inhibitors. But, if you're thinking of taking up a new sport, it's worth checking out the list below to help you make the right choice.3, 21, 25
- 1. The location of your typical bleeds. Some sports may not be suitable due to your past bleeding history and present joint condition.
- 2. Gradually ease into doing exercise. Don't decide to do a 20-mile bike ride up mountains on your first day!
- 3. The contact level of the sport. It is generally agreed that people with hemophilia should avoid rough contact sports, like rugby or football. However, where there is the potential for contact, it is important that you protect yourself properly by wearing appropriate clothing and protective equipment while you play.
- 4. Check yourself over after playing sports to make sure that there are no bleeds into the joints afterwards. Cool down properly to allow your body to recover gradually from the exercise.
- 5. Remember to do muscle strengthening and stretching exercises, as an ongoing part of your exercise routine. Exercises can help to target those muscle groups that need to be strengthened, which helps to reduce the likelihood of an injury.
- 6. A warming up and stretching session should be done before all exercise. Focus on the muscles you will use during the activity.
- 7. You should always finish an exercise session with a thorough cool down (5 to 10 minutes) and stretch (5 to 10 minutes). Everyone should do these, but most people don't take the time to do them properly. As a result, injuries can occur, and for someone with hemophilia and inhibitors, an injury should be avoided at all costs. Make sure you know how to warm up and cool down before you get started on your new exercise regime — consult your hemophilia care team or physical therapist.
- Not all activities are appropriate for all people. Be sure to consult your physician or treatment center before beginning any exercise program or participating in sporting activities. If an injury occurs, contact your physician or treatment center immediately for the appropriate treatment.
As you get older, sports get more competitive. The sports you enjoy might get rougher and the activities you want to join in might get wilder.3
As a rule of thumb, it is better for you to avoid more violent contact sports, such as football, boxing, wrestling, contact martial arts, and so on.25
Still, you and your school need to be sensible. Use protective clothing and gear, as appropriate. There are many sports that are fine for people with hemophilia. When a sport does cause a problem, it is usually easy to find a safer option that's just as enjoyable.3