People Living With HIV: Keeping healthy

An important part of successfully managing your HIV is to stay active and exercise. Exercise can’t fight your HIV, however it may help you feel better and fight some of the side effects you may experience from your medication. Exercising is also a key component to living a longer and healthier life whilst ageing with HIV.

An active and healthy lifestyle will help reduce your risk of having other health conditions on top of your HIV. Regular exercise has many of the same advantages for PLHIV as it does for most people. As we get older, we are at a higher risk of getting ill. Staying active can really help. Exercise can:

  • Help keep bones strong to avoid osteoporosis
    Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and break easily. People with HIV have an increased risk of osteoporosis due to the HIV infection itself and some HIV medicines. Exercising can make bones stronger and help slow the rate of bone loss.1
  • Help to reduce stress, improve the ability to sleep and help boost energy levels
    Exercise and other physical activity releases chemicals (endorphins) in the brain that act as a natural painkiller that may help you sleep better, reduce your stress levels and raise your energy levels.2
  • Help to minimise risk and/or monitor long-term health problems
    With age, the risk of having high blood pressure and high cholesterol becomes greater. These levels could also be influenced by the response of the immune system to HIV infection. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly can help to minimise these issues without the need for medical assistance.

For more information on how maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in living a long life with HIV, visit https://www.aidsmap.com/about-hiv/healthy-eating-people-living-hiv

  1. Aids info. 2017. Available from: https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/fact-sheets/22/62/hiv-and-osteoporosis [Accessed August 2018]
  2. Rodriguez D. Why exercise boosts mood and energy. Everyday health. 2018. Available from: https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/workouts/boost-your-energy-level-with-exercise.aspx [Accessed August 2018]
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