Active lifestyle

To reduce the limitations for patients living with haemophilia, we are firmly committed to understanding joint health. We believe improved joint health and mobility are essential to remove the limitations for patients living with haemophilia. This is where the importance of diet and exercises comes into play.

“With me dancing, it strengthened my joints, and allowed me to live a healthy and active life” (Jecorei, USA living with haemophilia)

Patients with haemophilia are at risk of bleeding into joints, particularly into the knees, elbows and ankles.1,2 Over time, repeated bleeds can lead to joint damage, such as stiffness, weakness and pain.2 This is why physical activity offers a range of benefits to patients with haemophilia beyond general health and wellbeing. Haemophilia-specific benefits include increased muscle strength and range of motion, reduced bleeding frequency and less pain.1,2 Specific exercises that address strength, balance and flexibility help patients participate in physical activity.

 

Why is Fitness important?

Patients sometimes avoid physical activity, thinking that it may cause bleeds.3  In fact, when carried out properly, regular activity can help prevent bleeds and joint damage.3 Being physically active offers a number of benefits for patients with haemophilia such as:

 

  • Helping to preserve and protect joints4,5
  • Improving joint stability, strength and range of motion5
  • Helping to maintain a healthy weight6,7, so reducing stress on the joints6
  • Helping you to carry out activities of daily living such as dressing, eating and shopping
  • Allowing you to participate in activities with friends6
  • Helping you get mobile again after a bleed.8
  • Improving general health and wellbeing.6

 

Talk to your healthcare professional about which physical activities are right for you, and which specific exercises can help you reach your goals.6,8  Knowing what you want to achieve from physical activity – from ‘moving around the office more easily’ to ‘taking part in organised sport’ – will help you and your healthcare professional design an exercise programme that is right for you.6

 

What type of sport is good for me?

Recommended forms of sports for haemophilia patients can be:

 

  1. Tai chi or other disciplines rooted in a culture that you’re interested in learning about can help you stay focused
  2. Walking or Hiking
  3. Archery
  4. Swimming or Aquatics (water exercises)

 

  1. Elliptical machine training
  2. Stationary biking
  3. Fishing
  4. Playing Frisbee
  5. Golf
  6. Snorkelling

 

It is important to focus on activities such as these, rather than high-impact sports like football or boxing, as care should be taken so that the exercise undertaken does not provoke new bleeding episodes. All activities can be undertaken at different intensity levels, so patients must seek professional advice and tailor their activities accordingly; sports activities have risks as well as benefits.9,10 It is also important to have an annual joint assessment carried out by a specialist physiotherapist.4

Get examples for exercises suitable for patient with haemophilia (PDF)

 

Watch our animations for exercises to help maintain strength, balance and flexibility

 

 


References:

1. Rodriguez-Merchan EC. Haemophilia 2012; 18(1): 8-16.

2. Valentino LA. J Thromb Haemost 2010; 8(9): 1895-902.

3. Mulder K. Exercises for people with haemophilia 2006, Montreal, Quebec, Canada: World Federation of Hemophilia. 4. Srivastava A et al. Haemophilia 2013; 19(1): e1-47.

5. Blamey G et al. Haemophilia 2010; 16 (Suppl 5): 136-45.

6. Kisner C and Colby LA. Therapeutic exercise (6th edition). 2012, Philadelphia, USA: FA Davis Company

7. Lobet S et al. J Blood Med 2014; 5: 207-18.

8. Blanchette VS et al. J Thromb Haemost 2014; 12(11): 1935-9.

9. National Hemophilia Foundation: Playing It Safe: Bleeding Disorders, Sports and Exercise. 2005, New York: National Hemophilia Foundation.

10. Negrier C et al. Haemophilia 2013; 19(4): 487-98.