Physical Activity

Physical Activity

Physical activity is important for everyone. It produces positive physical, psychological, and social benefits. Physical activity is any activity that causes your body to work harder than normal. That means more than daily routine activities such as sitting, standing, and walking up stairs. And, of course, physical activity includes exercise.

Regular physical activity helps:

  • Control weight
  • Build healthy bones, muscles, and joints
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Raise high-density lipoprotein (called good cholesterol)
  • Reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer
  • Improves psychological well-being, including self-confidence and self-esteem; decreases feelings of depression and anxiety

Studies have found that increased physical activity is associated with an increased life expectancy and decreased risk of several chronic diseases.

Remember, inactive children are likely to grow into inactive adults.

Can Physical Activity/Exercise Help People With Bleeding Disorders?

Yes! Physical activity and exercise are important for people with bleeding disorders, too. They help develop strong muscles and bones, which can help stabilize joints and prevent injury and bleeds. Allowing your child to participate in age-appropriate play activities will help prepare him or her to join peers in recreational and organized sports. It will also build self-esteem by helping your child develop the same skills as his or her friends and classmates.

Sports and games are an important part of childhood. The physical, social, and emotional benefits your child will gain should outweigh most of the concerns about his or her participation.

Age-Appropriate Play Activities

Work with your hemophilia health care provider to find age-appropriate physical activities and sports that are fun and safe for your child.

Increasing physical activity also means reducing screentime (for example, watching television, playing computer or video games, or talking or texting on the phone).

HERE ARE SOME tips FOR CHILDREN OF DIFFERENT AGES

Infants

Infants

  • Encourage your baby to move around–or roll, crawl, and stand
  • Learning to stand and walk involves many falls; for a child with a bleeding disorder, these milestones also mean more bruises
    • Remember, superficial bruises are common
    • Although you may feel anxious, bruises are usually not of concern unless they are painful and limit your child’s ability to move; this can be a sign of a more serious joint or muscle bleed

Balance your baby’s exploration with safety!

Toddlers

Toddlers

  • Encourage your toddler to be active
  • Use cushioned protective corners on tables; consider placing gates at the top and bottom of staircases and carpeting on floors
  • Supervise play time
  • Have your child wear appropriate safety equipment (for example helmets, elbow pads, and knee pads)

Help your child learn to play safely and well with others.

Preschoolers

Preschoolers

  • Teach preschoolers to safely develop new motor skills (for example, catching, throwing, skipping, hopping)
    • Remember, they will likely experience falls, bumps,
      and bruises
  • Supervise playtime to prevent serious injury
  • Make sure your child uses safety equipment

Preschoolers are developing the skills to tell you when they are having a bleed.

School-Aged Children

School-Aged Children

School physical education programs offer the best opportunity to provide physical activity to all children and to teach them the skills and knowledge needed to establish and sustain an active lifestyle.

  • Have your child participate in physical education classes at school, even if some restrictions or modifications are necessary
    • Federal law requires all children in public schools to have the opportunity to participate in physical education. Most schools will accept a letter from a Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC) stating that the child can participate in particular activities
  • Evaluate the bleeding risk for any activity
    • Run any new physical activity, sport, or exercise by the HTC team before starting
    • Rethink participation in any activity that causes repeated bleeds

Health care providers report fewer bleeding episodes among children who are regularly active than among children who are not.