Five Things I Do to Stay Fit (and One Little Cheat)

Author: Guy Law

Everyone with a bleeding disorder can stay in shape. The first thing you need to do is set a goal. Getting into a healthy routine is hard, but it’s even harder if you don’t really make it a priority.

The second thing may seem like a no-brainer for someone with a bleeding disorder, but infusing before you work out or stretch any muscles is really important, especially when you’re starting out. When you lift weights or use resistance bands, you are tearing muscle that has to reform. And working out and being fit is supposed to protect your joints, not make them worse. So start slow, stretch each time, and make sure your body is ready.

Third, choose what is feasible for you. I started to exercise on the Nintendo Wii®. Have you ever gotten into a Wii game and wondered, “This is a workout?” It is! All of the Wii’s sports and exercise games track you in important categories, such as your body mass index (BMI) and amount of time you’ve exercised. This gives you that extra boost to get up and play more. The Wii Fit package has exercises for strength training, yoga and balance. Games like tennis and boxing can have you working up a sweat. (Just be sure to move your lamps out of the way.)

Fourth, one of my top priorities while exercising: music! This may seem trivial, but music gives me the incentive to push just a little harder. Make yourself a workout playlist that you know will keep your blood pumping and boredom at bay. Whether it is rock, pop, rap, oldies or even a book on tape, a good soundtrack can let you work out for an hour and not even realize it.

Finally, my last tip is to stick with it. This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you start and it hurts, don’t quit. Once you notice you are feeling better about yourself, both physically and mentally, the goal you set will seem like a piece of cake.

Now, my little cheat: I try to eat right, while not giving up everything I love. This may sound contradictory, but it makes sense. Six days a week, I eat a lot of chicken, rice, vegetables and fruits—the healthy stuff. But I also have one “cheat” day when I can have fast food or eat at buffets. This is not for everyone, but it’s one example of how to manage your life and be realistic while still exercising.

Guy Law is a 25-year-old theater manager in Erie, Pennsylvania. He has severe hemophilia A.