Guest post by Jim Rollince

Exercise can be beneficial to almost everyone, and this is especially true for people living with HIV. According to AIDS West people living with HIV can benefit from physical activity for many reasons, including improved mental and physical health, the prevention or delay of the loss of muscle mass, lower blood fats and sugars and reduced bad LDL or bad cholesterol levels and increased good cholesterol or HDL levels. Exercise gives endurance.

While it is true that exercise in no way will cure HIV, it does increase muscle mass, increase energy levels, improve the health and heart of one’s lungs, improve body shapes, increase appetite, gives more flexibility in the joints and bones and helps the body process sugars and fats. In addition, exercise can help people living with HIV to produce endorphins, or chemicals, which make one feel good, relieve depression and stress, improve sleep, improve self-image and esteem and give the chance to meet new people.

It should only require 30 minutes of physical activity at least five times a week to increase heart rate, leave one out of breath, and lessen the risk of stroke and heart disease. This is known as cardiovascular or aerobic exercise. Exercise can include jogging, walking, cycling, swimming, pilates, weight training or stretching. It can also include using home gym equipment, such as treadmills or an elliptical. Exercise programs should have cardiovascular exercises; such as They should also include stretching to improve flexibility and resistance training, such as weight lifting.

Since HIV often causes the loss of both muscle mass and strength, improving these areas can be very beneficial. Many who receive HIV treatment have increased blood sugars and fats, so decreasing these by exercise can lessen the chance of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. HIV often brings lower levels of HDL or “good cholesterol,” which causes the disease to progress faster. Exercise can increase HDL. Some anti-HIV drugs cause lipodystrophy, or changes in body fat. This can include fat accumulating around the breasts and waist and losing fat on one’s limbs. Those who exercise reduce fat accumulation, even if they have lipodystrophy. Even where fat has been loss, they can build muscle.

Exercise can be a lot to take on, and it is very easy to be discouraged, by setting small, obtainable goals, and making exercise a priority, the benefits of exercise will soon be present. It is important to consult a doctor before undertaking any sort of new exercise routine.

—Jim Rollince is a member of the creating writing department of Gym Source, a seller of home gym and training equipment including treadmillsellipticals, bikes, arc trainers and more