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ExercisingWeight Lifting and HIV
Mar 25, 2001

Is exercising and or weight lifting ok for an Hiv + individual who is relatively healthy. If so what would you recommend on starting out. I have the means to start a workout program at a local gym. The only problem is I have mild fatigue and depression. I thought Working out would be good for the depression. Should i work on muscle building or just toning and strenghting. I weigh 180lbs 5'8 and 33'' waist. I only take sustiva and combivir. Tcells viral load great. and i'm 37. What is your opinion on this. Could you recommend a web site for learning more about hiv and working out. Thanks for all your good advice. San Antonio Texas

Response from Dr. Pavia

Dear San Antonio,

I am definitely pro-excercise. For people with HIV it is not only OK but highly recommended. At the risk of sounding like a zealot, here are some of the benefits: it can improve depression, decrease fatigue, it prevents heart disease (remember you are planning on being around long enough to worry about that), lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. These are the ones backed by solid scientific data. There are less clear-cut data that also suggest it improves immune function and decreases the number of infections, days lost from work, increases testosterone and improves sexual functioning.

I don't know of any good web site, but perhaps other readers will chime in. In general, you want to do both some cardiovascular excercise (biking, walking, running, swimming, aerobics etc.) and some strength training. They provide overlapping benefits. Gyms are great for some, but not the only way to excercise. If the gym scene isn't for you, you should still find an excercise program you like.

The most common reason people burn out is setting unreasonable goals or not getting into a routine. If you have not worked out, I would recommend starting with an organized program. This can be an orientation at a good gym, some guidance by an experienced (and sane) friend, or best of all, a session or two with a trainer. Most gyms have several available, and if you want to spring for it, it will get you off to a good start.

Good luck, and remember to find something you like that fits in with your life style.


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