10 Recommended Physical Activities for Hemophilia Patients

Margarida Azevedo, MSc avatar

by Margarida Azevedo, MSc |

Share this article:

Share article via email

For many years, those who suffered from hemophilia were told to not take part in any kind of physical exercise. It was only in the last 40 years or so that doctors started encouraging patients to choose a physical activity that’s both safe and enjoyable for each individual. Play safe and don’t jump headfirst into a contact sport like rugby, and always consult with a specialist before starting any activity so you can make sure you’re not endangering yourself.

MORE: How physical activity and exercise can help hemophilia patients

That being said, here are a few recommended activities:

Swimming as a sport that usually takes place in public pools and swimmers typically learn four different styles: front crawl, backstroke, butterfly and breaststroke. Of all the recommended sports, swimming is by far the most popular for people with blood disorders, but hemophilia patients in particular. It’s safe, fun and the water does not put any strain on your muscles and joints. It creates a “soft” resistance that helps tone and strengthen the body with little to no negative side effects.

Table Tennis
Table tennis or ping pong is a sport where two — or in rarer occasions four — players hit a small ball back and forth with a paddle. This takes place on a table that is divided in the middle by a small net.  The game is fairly simple, you have to return the ball back to the other player’s court according to the rules or your opponent gains a point. Unless the game gets super intense, there’s little chance of either player getting injured.

Most people will probably think, “Walking? really?” Yes, really. Walking regularly (or jogging) is more important that spending your whole weekend at the gym. It seems simple and easy, but people rarely do it. Walking everyday can improve your health tremendously, not to mention it’s free, unlike the gym you pay a ton for only to step in it once or twice a month.

Fishing can be both a solo activity or something to do with the whole family. Other than the fishhooks and choosing a fishing spot, there is very little chance this sport will ever give you any trouble. It’s not a strenuous activity but it’s fun and relaxing and it can introduce you to a whole new community.

Dancing is a great idea for either spending time with your significant other or meeting new people. Both ballroom and modern dances are a great new skill to acquire while having fun and getting a daily dose of exercise. Either choose a favorite and stick to it, or cycle through different styles and learn them all. There is no right or wrong way to appreciate a sport so just find a studio near you and go for it.

MORE: Hemophiliacs improve quality of life by playing sports, study says

While the badminton court isn’t too big, the sport can get pretty intense with tricky skill shots, impressive footwork and intelligent and well-thought-out plays. Unlike tennis, it won’t put much strain on your joints and muscles so it’s a good choice when it comes to racquet sports. While badminton is often compared to tennis by new players that are trying to choose between the sports, they have surprisingly little in common.

If you live near a lake, river or ocean, you should think about sailing. As long as it’s done right and not on a competitive scale, sailing is the ultimate way to find a bit of peace in your daily life. However, it is a bit more expensive to start, so make sure you’ll stick with it before investing. To learn to sail, you’ll need either a private instructor or to attend a sailing school. If you want to continue sailing after learning how, you’ll need to either regularly rent a boat or buy one. These are all factors you should take into account before making a decision.

Golf is primarily a social sport, you can go to a club and laugh with friends while you play. There is no rush to finish either your turn or the whole game. Golf doesn’t put a lot of stress on your body, so other than one or two appointments with a specialist to decide on a stretching routine (when you swing, you’ll be putting a bit of a strain on a few key areas so stretching is required) and a few classes to learn how to play, you’re pretty much ready to start.

Bowling is a fun sport and a good way to socialize and interact with new people in a positive environment, but it will give you a limited workout. While bowling isn’t the ideal choice, it’s still better than contact sports and the like.

It might be a mix of the wind whipping by and the new places you discover or just the repetitive motions that leave your mind with some time to wander, but anyone that’s ever cycled knows that it gives you a joyous feeling of freedom. And it’s not an expensive activity to maintain. You can buy a secondhand bike or check if you have any friends or family members that have one lying around that they don’t use. Get some protective gear and you’re ready to go. Do keep in mind that cycling might be a tiny bit trickier than the others sports mentioned here. It does carry a bigger risk factor, but just be careful, wear cycling protective gear and don’t push yourself too hard.

MORE: Living with hemophilia: Ryan’s story

Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.