Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Exercise and Sickle Cell Care

When you are in pain the last thing you want to do is move your body. When a person with sickle cell disease has a episode of pain or “crisis, ” the pain is beyond understanding. What I have discovered is if I strengthen my body through exercise I am better able to manage pain. This is not to say exercise prevents a crisis or helps during a crisis. It is to say, a strong body is a healthy body.

Excessive exercise could cause over exertion and therefore, cause a sickle cell crisis. I am not advocating anything but gentle, consistent, light motion. Light weight lifting, gentle stretching, and easy cardio exercise.

Here’s my exercise regime. Three days a week: I stretch my legs to get ready for exercise, I walk for 30 minutes, then lift I light weights (3 or 5 lbs). To end it all, I gently stretch my arms, legs, neck, and back (somewhat like yoga stretching). After this exercise I feel strong and balanced. Of course, I eat well too….fruits and vegetables, and lean meats.

People with sickle cell disease have to participate in their own care. We have to take responsibility for what we CAN do to improve our health, and then let our medical professionals help us too. Keeping our appointments for preventive care; like mammograms, bone scans, blood test, eye exams, and dental exams all play a part in helping us live well.


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