Aim: to get moving again
If you have experienced lethargic and inactive bouts prior to your transplant, your first goal will be to get moving again. It is important that you have the strength to support your body weight in the cardiovascular exercise you choose to do. Cardiovascular exercises will be critical for improving your health and overall physical functioning.
Since there can be a significant loss of muscle mass and strength due to prolonged physical inactivity experienced prior to (and for some following) transplant, strengthening exercises will be an essential part of regaining your fitness.
There are always several things to consider as you get started with a program of regular exercise, depending on your goals which may range simple day-to-day activities to participating in recreational sports or even athletic competition.
The differences in programs span widely, from incorporating more movement and walking and participation in activities like walking, climbing stairs even gardening to vigorous athletic training. The differences are typically determined by the level of intensity, the duration and the frequency of participation and your commitment to the program. The most important thing to remember is that you, as a transplant recipient, commit towards doing some sort of regular physical activity on most, if not all days of the week for the sake of your overall health and well-being. There will be benefits gained from any level of physical activity as long as participation is regular and appropriate for your physical condition.
As a beginner trying to get active again, some simple options may be:
Parking further from a destination.
Walking activities around the home such as gardening, etc.
Doing easy strengthening exercises such as chair stands and stair climbs.
Use of light callisthenics or light weights to start strengthening.
The most important step at this stage will be to get moving and to set aside some time on most, if not all days of the week.
Aim: Set aside time 3 – 5 days/week to participate in exercise at a ‘moderate’ exertion level
(i.e. a level that increases breathing, pulse rate, and uses large muscle groups in a rhythmic manner).
Examples of this type of exercise includes:
The use of cardio-equipment
Strengthening equipment (weights and toning)
This level of training is generally suited to someone who can walk continuously for 30 minutes and has the desire to increase their endurance and strength passed their normal daily activities.
Aim: Exercise for sports participating and/or athletic competition
These programs are aimed at individuals who wish to increase their exercise program beyond the moderate level by incorporating interval training at a higher intensity, and who wish to start to incorporate sport specific training.
This is suitable for those who are already able to participate in moderate levels of activity for at least 30 minutes 3 – 5 days per week.