Exercise for hemophilia

People who have hemophilia can help prevent bleeding episodes by choosing appropriate exercises that keep their muscles and joints in good shape. Exercise helps keep muscles flexible and strong and helps control weight, lessening the likelihood of a bleeding episode. Before you or your child participates in any sport, the family needs to learn how to administer clotting factors at home. Injuries can then be treated quickly. The sooner a bleeding episode is treated, the less damage bleeding will do to muscles and joints.

People who have hemophilia need to be careful when they participate in certain activities in order to prevent injury and serious bleeding. Stretching and warming up with a few minutes of gentle exercise are important because muscles will be less likely to be pulled or torn and therefore less likely to bleed.

Some exercises and sports carry more risk for bleeding than others. Some people who have hemophilia participate in any sport, regardless of the risk, because they infuse with clotting factors beforehand.

It can be very hard to try to restrict your child with hemophilia from playing a sport or being in an activity, especially when many of his friends are doing it. Like most children, your son may be most concerned with "fitting in." This conflict can be very hard for you and frustrating for your child. Doctors who specialize in hemophilia can often help you and your child handle this sensitive situation.

Sports and activities that are generally recommended for adults and children with hemophilia include:

  • Swimming.
  • Bicycling (be sure to wear a helmet).
  • Walking.

Sports that are possible but carry an increased risk of bleeding include:

  • Baseball.
  • Tennis.
  • Basketball.

People with hemophilia generally should avoid:

  • Soccer.
  • Football.
  • Hockey.
  • Weight lifting (with heavy weights).
  • Wrestling.

Last Updated: August 13, 2009

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