A healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy diet and regular exercise is beneficial to all. Research has shown that regular exercise can improve mood, body shape and measures of fitness in people living with HIV.
Benefits of Exercise
Exercise offers many benefits to your quality of life, general health and your HIV management, including:
- enhancing and strengthen the immune system, in turn helping to prevent or fight infections and speed up recovery from illness
- improving bone health; weight bearing exercise is especially good for strengthening bones
- strengthening your lung function and helping keep your heart healthy
- reducing breathlessness due to developing stronger heart and lung muscles
- improving mood
- improving body image/self-perception
- aiding weight loss in combination with a healthy diet
Before commencing any exercise programme, it is important that you discuss the best approach with your doctor.
Tips for exercising
- Be realistic, if you have never exercised before or haven’t done for a long time then start slowly and build up gradually
- Exercising does not mean having to join a gym. Instead decide on exercise that you would enjoy and start from there
- Investigate exercise programmes in your local area, for example gyms, exercise classes, swimming, yoga, walking groups, tennis, basketball
- There are things you can do at home e.g. exercise DVDs, active computer games like dancing, walking up and down the stairs, active housework or gardening
- Think about exercise that fits in to your daily life for example walking or cycling to work, parking further away from work or the shops, taking the stairs rather than the lift
- Try to exercise with friends, this can be more fun and keep you motivated
GP Referral Programme
A GP referral scheme is available in Sheffield that offers access to specialist exercise programmes for patients with a variety of health conditions.
The GP referral scheme lasts for 12 weeks and is supervised by qualified fitness staff who will aim to ensure you have a safe, effective and enjoyable start to a more active, healthier lifestyle.
If you would like to participate in the exercise scheme talk to your GP, Practice Nurse, Consultant or other medical professional who will issue you with a referral form.
After you have completed your referral form, you will be contacted to arrange an appointment with a qualified instructor who will match you up with the best qualified staff to get the best results and work out the right exercise options for you.
All the instructors on the scheme are qualified to a minimum of YMCA Gym Instructor or equivalent, Level 3 Fitness Knowledge or equivalent, Exercise Referral Qualification (YMCA, Gayton, Wright Foundation) and BACR Phase 4 (for CHD Patients). Hillsborough Leisure Centre GP referral scheme is also accredited by Activity Sheffield.
Gyms participating in the scheme include:
Concord Sports Centre
Hillsborough Leisure Centre
Graves Tennis & Leisure Centre
Bochum Parkway Sheffield