Fatigue—in your body or in your exercise routine—can be worked out
I want to exercise, but I’m so fatigued that I can’t get off the couch. Help, please!
fatigue—that annoying yet faithful mate of HIV. From the virus itself,
the meds, depression, hepatitis or poor diet and lost sleep, it gets a
capital “P” for problematic (and pooped).
See if your doctor
can find a cause—and treatment—for your fatigue. But in any case,
movement can alleviate depression, stress and fatigue itself, while
building resilience. Some tips:
Begin by awakening body and spirit
with a few minutes of quiet meditation. Tell yourself it’s a new day
and that you can move and act.
Start with a breakfast of carbs, like
pancakes or cereal with bananas, for energy. Plan a simple activity you
enjoy, such as walking or bike riding. Begin slowly, at a steady pace,
to manage your energy. Listen to your body, stop when needed, sit down
to recover, note how long you exercised—and be proud.
Now set a
short-term goal such as walking or biking for a set amount of time
every day. After a while, you can add more time or distance or other
I speak from experience: I spent 1997 to '98 at home on a feeding tube. Thankful I was alive and knowing I was worth the effort, I would get out bed and take a walk. I know you have the spirit and determination to succeed, too.
doing the same fitness routine for almost as long as I’ve had HIV. Why
have I stopped seeing improvements—especially in my abdomen?
– Ab Flab
It’s great that you’ve been working out
to trim HIV-related woes, from elevated blood fats to weakened
immunity. But you need to challenge your muscles by switching your
routine every three to four months. Include a different ab routine in
each workout session, 25 reps per set, resting one minute per set. Keep
your core tight during all your upper and lower body exercises—lose the
contraction and you lose the effect. Do this in everyday life, too.
Walking down the street, tuck and contract your abs to improve your
posture and strength.
If it’s lipo’s deep fat beefing up your
belly, try weight lifting. Even without studies, it’s pretty safe to
say that consistent weight lifting can help your body produce more
growth hormone and testosterone (and the amino acids that help your
body use it). It also boosts insulin sensitivity, helping your body
process and use sugar (and avoid lipo).
Jeffrey Gross is a certified fitness trainer in Chicago.
Got a question for our trainer? E-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.