Exercise safety tips for ITP

By Michelle Ponte

Worried that a trip to the gym might lead to a bleed? You’re not alone. But you can exercise with ITP. In fact, staying active is important your overall  health. To reduce the chances of an injury, develop a plan with your doctor based on your ITP symptoms and platelet counts, says Michael Tarantino, MD, a pediatric hematologist in Peoria, IL. Then, if you’re:

At the gym…
  • Don’t do heavy weight lifting that forces you to strain. This can cause muscle fibers to tear. Instead, lift lighter weights and do more repetitions.
  • Choose wisely if you take yoga—some classes require high levels of exertion, stretching and contortion that will cause bleeding in someone with fewer than 30,000 platelets. Stick to basic yoga with relaxation and mild stretching.
  • Check with your doctor before planning a cardio workout. Generally speaking, if your platelet count is above 50,000, you can participate in aerobic exercise.
At home…
  • Clear out a large space in a carpeted room that is free of sharp edges if you exercise using the Wii or TV.
  • Don’t get to the point where you feel a “burn” if you use free weights, a medicine ball or stretch bands.
  • Size your helmet, check the tire pressure and secure the brakes on your bike before going for a ride.
  • Plan to be out when there’s full daylight and walk, ride a bike or jog in open spaces. Watch for uneven surfaces and always wear a medical alert bracelet.

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