June 16, 2004
Also, according to Alina Gavrila, M.D., a clinical researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, a recent observational study found a significant association between serum triglycerides levels and exercise in HIV-positive patients. "It's a negative association," Gavrila said, "meaning the patients who exercise more had lower levels of triglycerides and less insulin resistance." The researchers also found that participants taking vitamin E supplements had lower blood pressure. That study, "Exercise and Vitamin E Intake Are Independently Associated with Metabolic Abnormalities in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Positive Subjects: A Cross-Sectional Study," appeared in Clinical Infectious Diseases (2003;36(12):1593-1601).
Robinson said that at the very least, exercise appears to have a positive impact on HIV patients with metabolic disorders, noting that exercise increases energy and helps people feel better about themselves. "And to a certain extent," Robinson said, "there is evidence that exercise does promote a more competent immune system." Also, weight lifting builds muscle mass in the arms and legs and improves the body's appearance, which in turn provides a psychological boost to HIV patients, he noted.
Robinson said that even if clinical tests showed no significant impact on lipodystrophy and HIV-related metabolic disorders, it would still be a good idea for clinicians to recommend both aerobic and weight-lifting exercises for patients for whom it is physically possible.
Clinicians who recommend exercise to HIV patients might give them the achievable goal of engaging in aerobic exercise for 20-30 minutes, three or four days a week, and performing muscle group repetitions in sets of 10, twice a week, according to Robinson. "Everyone should be exercising, and people with HIV are no exception," he added.
05.01.04; Vol. 19; No. 5: P. 56
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