Finding your feet

Research into haemophilia has improved the care outlook. It’s now known that a well-designed exercise programme can help maintain healthy joints and reduce pain.


Published 22 October 2019 | 3 min read

Striking a balance

Over time, the medical opinion on being active and living with haemophilia has changed.1 Recommendations have progressed. Half a century ago, the advice was to avoid social and physical activities for fear of injury or bleeds – and, really, to rest as much as possible. 2 Nowadays, the consensus is that keeping fit can actually improve joint health. A well-designed exercise programme can help maintain healthy joints and reduce pain.

Research into haemophilia has improved the care outlook. Not least by demonstrating that – as a person living with haemophilia – there are very few sports you won’t be able to take part in.3 Certainly, there are some activities that are higher impact than others, so it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor to find out what’s best for you.4 It’s all about finding the balance.

Overcoming fears

Despite the changes in medical recommendations, some people living with haemophilia still come up against barriers when it comes to being active. Worries of social exclusion or individual limitations might get in the way, but regular physical activity can help to build your confidence and self-esteem. Did you know that it can actually improve quality of life?3

Keeping your joints and muscles strong can help to protect from bleeds and joint damage, as well as maintain a healthy weight, which will alleviate pressure on joints. 3,5,6 Strengthening your muscles can help you achieve functional goals, like returning to work or school, participating in social activities or even taking up a new sport! 7

Taking part in sports can be liberating and empowering and will help you to live life to the fullest. One of the best ways to make a start is to consult your haemophilia team, to identify the best sports for you. 

Experience the rewards

It’s normal to feel a little apprehensive before starting anything new, but remember that there are more than 400,000 people living with haemophilia worldwide.8 Why not become one of the many who have made exercise a part of their routine?

The good news is that being active doesn’t just mean you’ll be keeping fit. Whether it's swimming with your friends at the weekend or just making that run for the bus a bit easier, there are loads of benefits to be found on top of improving your joint health. There’s joy to be had in taking part, you’ll develop coordination skills and meet new people along the way. And when you find a sport you enjoy, it leads to better physical and mental health, with improved bone and joint health and function. 3,4

No matter the level of activity you choose to take part in, there are plenty of rewards to enjoy by moving more. Knowing you could be improving your joint health and outcomes is just one of them. Talk to your healthcare team and find the exercise plan that works for you.


  1. The Haemophilia Society, 2017, Understanding haemophilia
  2. Inspiring Change in Haemophilia: Heinz. Novo Nordisk Changing Haemophilia. Available at: [Accessed September 2019].
  3. The Haemophilia Society, Frequently Asked Questions.
  4. National Hemophilia Foundation: Playing It Safe: Bleeding Disorders, Sports and Exercise. 2005, New York: National Hemophilia Foundation.
  5. Srivastava A et al. Haemophilia 2013; 19(1): e1–47.
  6. Mulder K and Llinás A. Haemophilia 2004; 10: 152–156.
  7. Blamey G et al. Haemophilia 2010; 16 (Suppl 5): 136–145.
  8. National Haemophilia Foundation, 2019, Fast Facts.