Sports & Exercise
Keep active, keep well. Physical activity promotes powerful muscles which protect the major joints. Flabby muscles cannot support joints properly and bleeding episodes are more frequent. Obesity adds to the problem by putting more strain on the unstable joints. Teenagers of all ages should be encouraged to participate in sports. Regular enjoyable sports results in feelings of well-being and fulfilment. Teamwork is another powerful weapon in dispelling ideas of isolation.
There are lots of activities you can do. What is safe for teenagers with haemophilia will depend on the individual and the severity of haemophilia. In general terms, regular exercise is very important to maintain strong muscles and flexible joints and to reduce the number of bleeds.
Swimming, tennis, badminton, dancing, netball, cycling or jogging short distances are recommended. Try to avoid contact sports, like football, boxing, rugby, and some martial arts. Make sure that you wear the appropriate headgear, knee, elbow pads, or shin pads according to the sport of choice. Try to exercise frequently, and take the time to warm up and cool down.
When taking part in a new activity at school, tell your PE teacher that you will have a go and see how you feel. If you feel uncomfortable with it, you may want to stop and watch for a while or do a different activity not to miss out altogether.
See below for a chart outlining the varying levels of risk associated with different sports:
Category A – Low Risk
Category B – Medium Risk
Track & Field
Category C – High Risk
In doubt about which activity you can or can’t do, get in touch with your Haemophilia Treatment Centre for advice.