HIV/AIDS is a virus that targets the immune system; it essentially attacks and breaks down the immune system making it much weaker and unable to fight off other infection. Many of the illness and death attributed to HIV/AIDS actually come from other viruses and infection such as pneumonia and shingles. The immune system at that point is so weak from the HIV/AIDS virus that it is very vulnerable and unable to amount a proper defense, letting the infection take over the body.
Both of these conditions can lead to exhaustion, fatigue, and inability to perform regular tasks, mental conditions including depression, anxiety, increased stress and body image issues.
There has been inconsistent research in regards to specific benefits to exercise for people with HIV/AIDS but as more studies are being done we are constantly learning new information on how exercise can supplement a treatment program.
Exercise also helps you strengthen and maintain a strong immune system, through the constant engagement of your body’s system it can help fight off bacterial and viral infections.
Core training, speed, agility, and flexibility training are also very important, as they will improve your balance, coordination and flexibility. Helping your body to become more functional, better able to hold yourself in unstable environments as well as always keep your mind sharp and focused to better able to respond at the task at hand. Check out different programs including yoga, Pilates and Zumba are great ways to keep your core and mind engaged.
Exercise also has a wide variety of mental and psychological benefits. Living with HIV/AIDS can be just as hard on the mind as it is on the body. The two are connected to each other and maintaining a healthy mind is just as important as maintain a healthy body. Depression, self esteem and confidence issues as well as stress and eating disorders are all common issues people have, not only that but also the medications and treatments often have many side effects that play host to many of these conditions. Elle Woods from Legally Blonde said it best, “Exercises releases endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” Indeed this is true; exercise will lead to the release of serotonin and dopamine, which are the two neurotransmitters in the body responsible for pleasure. These neurotransmitters can affect everything from mood, to overall physical health and quality of life. Helping you feel stronger, happier and more fulfilled.