Whether you choose yoga or jogging, dancing or a team sport – even taking the stairs instead of the lift – regular activity can be beneficial to the heart, lungs, bones and muscles.
Exercise releases natural chemicals (endorphins) which can make you feel good about yourself. It encourages you to take care of your body and maintain a healthy outlook. If you are having trouble sleeping, or suffering from depression or stress, exercise can also help.
Gentle exercise can help strengthen your immune system. If you are taking anti-HIV medication, your heart may be at a higher risk of coronary heart disease. Certain factors may further increase your chances of heart disease, such as smoking, having high cholesterol, diet and weight. As the HIV positive population in the UK ages, the factor of old age may also increase the risk of heart disease.
Keeping active doesn’t have to be expensive, stressful or take too much time.Consider going on foot when you go to the shops, or try yoga which can be as beneficial to your stress levels and emotional health as it is to your body.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure your targets are achievable and enjoy it. Keeping your exercise as varied as possible and ensuring that your regime is within your abilities means that there is less risk of getting bored or disheartened and giving up.
Make sure you drink enough water and eat before and after exercise (allow your food time to go down though). You burn calories as you exercise and it is important that you replace them afterwards. Take care if you have an illness that may not tolerate vigorous exercise and consult your doctor if you are in any doubt. HIV alone should not prevent you from an active lifestyle.