Why moving more is a good move

In the past, sports and physical activity were discouraged for individuals with a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia. Now that treatment options are widely available, both children and adults are encouraged to do physical activities despite having a bleeding condition.1,2

“Patients should feel encouraged to be active.“ — Lisa, Takeda clinical specialist

An active lifestyle has many benefits for individuals with a bleeding disorder, including helping to prevent muscle and joint bleeds.3 Physical activity can also help maintain a healthy weight, strengthen muscles around the joints, and improve emotional health, too.2

Customize your exercise routine

When choosing an activity or exercise, you may want to take into consideration your history of bleeds, general body build, and the condition of your joints. Your healthcare provider (HCP) or physical therapist can help develop an exercise regimen that's best for you.4

Make sure you talk to your HCP about the sport or activity you're considering so you can both determine if it's right for you. Your healthcare provider may recommend alternative activities to provide you with the exercises you need.4

Here are some types of exercises and how they may help you:

  • Aerobic exercise: burns calories and helps in weight loss, reducing the load on weight-bearing joints4
  • Strength training: increases the muscle and strengthens the tendons that support your joints4
  • Balance and flexibility: improves your posture and ability to move4

Exercise helps in weight loss, which can contribute to the lessening of pressure on weight-bearing joints. If you are trying to lose weight, one to two pounds a week is a healthy goal. Any faster weight loss could be hard on your body and potentially unhealthy.4

Prophylaxis is recommended prior to engaging in activities with a higher risk of injury. Prior to physical activity, prophylaxis is performed based on factor activity levels. Having the right amount of factor in your body can help protect your joints; talk to your HCP about what level is right for you.2

Playing it safe

There are many exercise activities that may be appropriate for you. It also may be possible to modify many of the exercises described below if you’re nervous about trying them. Remember to consult with your HCP before beginning any exercise routine.4

Some low- and high-risk exercises or sports for people with bleeding disorders are noted in the table below, for example.1 You can review a more comprehensive list from the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF).

  • Low-risk activities
  • Swimming
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • High-risk activities
    (not recommended)
  • Tackle football
  • Hockey
  • Wrestling

It's important to recognize that no activity is completely safe. Don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with an HCP or physical therapist. He or she can help you decide which activity is best for you or your family. Also, it’s essential for children and teens to communicate openly and honestly with their parents, their healthcare team, and school personnel such as coaches and teachers. These measures may aid in preparedness and help prevent serious injuries.1

Going somewhere?

There are a few things you can't forget when traveling with a bleeding disorder.

Start packing

Have you tried physical therapy?

Regular sessions with a physical therapist can help keep your muscles and joints strong.

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Your emotional health matters

Acknowledging and addressing negative emotions is crucial to disease management.

Learn how
  1. Alice Anderson; National Hemophilia Foundation. Playing it safe: bleeding disorders, sports and exercise. https://stepsforliving.hemophilia.org/sites/default/files/playing-it-safe.pdf. Published 2017. Accessed August 23, 2019.
  2. Goto M, Takedani H, Yokota K, Haga N. Strategies to encourage physical activity in patients with hemophilia to improve quality of life. J Blood Med. 2016;7:85-98.
  3. Preventing hemophilic joint disease with activity and nutrition. UC San Diego Hemophilia and Thrombosis Treatment Center website. https://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/hematology/hemophilia/education/Pages/joint.aspx. Accessed September 4, 2019.
  4. Exercise and activity options. Steps for Living website. https://stepsforliving.hemophilia.org/step-out/wellness-and-prevention/exercise-and-activity-options. Accessed August 23, 2019.