HIV and Exercise

Overview

Exercise may help you feel better and relieve stress. It also keeps your heart, lungs, and muscles strong and helps you feel less tired. It also may improve your immune system, which can help you fight infection.

Be sure to talk with your doctor before you start an exercise program, especially if you haven't been active for a long time.

Exercise:

  • Is safe.
  • Improves strength and endurance.
  • Improves heart and lung fitness.
  • May help you feel less tired.
  • Enhances your sense of well-being.

Walking is a good way to get aerobic exercise. Start slowly if you haven't been active. Try 20 minutes a day or two 10-minute walks. Slowly increase your time. Try to walk as often as you can.

Weight lifting also can build your strength. Again, talk to your doctor first. Ask how to start a program that works for you.

Competitive sports can be fun ways to get exercise. They don't pose a risk of spreading HIV to other athletes or coaches. In sports in which exposure to blood can occur, the risk of spreading HIV is very small. But if a person, HIV-infected or not, starts to bleed, they should leave the game. The wounds should be covered before the person returns to the game.

Credits

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Peter Shalit MD, PhD - Internal Medicine