Is there a risk for people with ITP when they exercise? Yes. However these risks associated with exercising must be weight against the benefits of such exercise. What is a bruise every now and again in comparison to you or your child’s health?
Always common sense must prevail.’Vigorous exercise may lead to more “huffing & puffing” resulting in more petechiae than usual on the face and neck, but unless one has severe ITP with regular bleeding – nosebleeds or internal haemorrhage would not be expected with exercises that improve cardiovascular performance or muscle strength.’ ITP SUPPORT UK This article from ITP Support Uk goes on to say that this risk increases when patients are involved in contact or more active sports such as football, netball or basketball.
Recovery – How do you recover ?
The worst thing about a really great workout, is that for three days afterwards you can’t do another really great work out. Post exercise, your muscles are aching and you can feel stiff and sore. These side effects of exercise are compounded with ITP, as platelets are involved in the recovery process. Platelets are so importance in the recovery process that some sports specialist and orthopedists are offering platelet rich plasma injections as treatment for sport recover and to heal problems such as tendonitis. ‘Within platelets are also powerful growth factors, substances which stimulate tissue repair of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. PRP is a blood preparation that contains few red blood cells, but a highly concentrated amount of platelets,‘ from Hunterdon Orthopedic. So how can you ensure that you give yourself the best chance possible of maintaining a healthy exercise routine? Here are a few tips to keep you fit, and able to exercise as much as you like.
1. Drink plenty of water
It seems like water might be the cure for everything! I am going to write an article about all the ways that water can cure ITP. Water is great for your skin, your hair, your muscles, your organs, and your bones. After exercise, drink as much water as you think you would need and then have one more glass. Water supports every metabolic function in your body.
2. Get a foam roller and Get Rolling
Foam Rollers are an incredibly cheap alternative to massage. They allow you to stretch out tight muscles from the comfort of your living room floor. Foam rolling is very easy to learn and there are hundreds of articles and videos on Youtube to help you get started. The basic idea is to put the sore part of your body on the roller and roll back and forth. Your natural body weight will provide the perfect amount of pressure. There are soft and hard ones, bumpy ones and smooth ones and they all offer a different kind of stretch and pressure. We have three different types in our house and a piece of PVC piping for the hard to reach places! Start with a large soft one, and then get smaller and harder the more you use them. You can buy a Foam Roller from Amazon, they are cheap and easy to post as they are so light.
3. Rest and Get Plenty of Sleep
I think that sleeping should be listed as an official alternative medicine. Sleep is so vital to us that sleep deprivation is considered a disorder. Sleeping is when your body heals and grows. Having ITP means you are probably more tired than all your friends and family – especially after you exercise with a low platelet count. Tell everyone to get screwed, and go take a nap. You might need 9 hours, 10 hours 11 or 12 hours sleep to feel rested and happy. You need to take it. Also, Stretching before bed is a great way to ensure you have a wonderful night’s sleep.
4. Practice Yoga
Here is a little information about active recovery. While rest is important, you can take it too far. The less you move after exercise the tighter and sorer your muscles will be in the days afterwards. So keep yourself moving so you don’t stiffen up. Yoga is a great way to stretch out the body and to feel where you might be tight. Yoga draws your awareness back to your body and can help you discover which muscles need attention. Restorative yoga, Prana yoga and Hatha yoga are great active recovery exercises as you are constantly moving throughout. Read more on the benefits of Yoga for ITP here.
5. Go for a Walk
I mean a short little walk. A 5 minute walk. I don’t mean a long walk through nature along the beach front that takes 4 hours. Just walk, from here to there. Walking is such a nice gentle exercise, it gets you standing up straight and looking out at the world. Walking makes you feel better – trust me. Walking is mood altering, and very gentle stretching gets your blood flowing to help with healing and repair.
6. Eat right
The best time to eat is after you have exercise. this is when you are able to replace all the nutrients and calories that were burned off (well not all of them, anyway!) After exercise is probably when you are feeling most hungry too. The more you exercise the more you will start to eat, don’t worry it is natural. Try to avoid eating before hand as it can cause stitches in the side, tummy pain, and disrupt the flow of the foods. Also, make sure you are eating whole nutrient rich unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural state as you can find. Eat food that is as fresh as possible.
It really is the same for everyone recovering from exercise. Everyone needs to be doing the same things, wether you are healthy or suffering from a bleeding disorder. The real difference is that people with ITP and other bleeding disorders should actually do all of these things, instead of just thinking about it. Most people after exercise would not do everything listed above – but if you have ITP – get to it!
I am a big believer in exercise as a treatment. I exercise now more than I ever have. After taking prednisone for a very long time, I have become more anxious and find it harder to settle down and de stress. This is because I am (e are) living with far more adrenaline and stress hormone than we should. Heavy exercise helps me to metabolise a lot of that adrenaline the prednisone releases in my system and helps remain calm. I find I am burning a lot of that stress and anxiety off. I feel wonderful after a really heavy exercise.