Blood Clots and Exercise
Blood clots usually form to stop the bleeding from a damaged artery or vein. Although this is a regular and harmful occurrence for cuts or abrasions, a blood clot can also happen unnecessarily and actually block the flow of blood. These clots are considered dangerous and should receive immediate medical attention. Exercise is an effective prevention of blood clots and a good way to recover from them.
The Three Dangers of Blood Clots
At first, a superficial blood clot may appear as redness, pain, and swelling. However, as the clot deepens, it could break off from the vein and travel to the heart. If a blood clot reaches the heart vessels, a heart attack is possible. Also, the clot might travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism. When the clot enters your brain, it can cause a stroke.
#1 Obesity and Blood Clots: People that are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing blood clots. Physical activity is vital to staying in shape and maintaining optimal health levels. Without movement, the body becomes sedentary and less effective in identifying and combating potential threats. Recent studies have shown that people who exercise at least once a week lowered their risk of a blood clot substantially.
The recommended amount of moderate to high intensity exercise is 30 minutes per day at least four to five times each week. Depending on a person's fitness level or condition, that might not always be practical. Check with a doctor to determine the frequency of your fitness program and which exercises will work for you. Routine physical activity is a key factor in strengthening the heart, cardiovascular system, bones, and muscles, leading to an overall improvement in disease prevention.
#2 Reversing Blood Clot Formation: Another study linvestigated the correlation between exercise and blood clot reversal. The research specifically focused on the tissue type plasminogen activator (t-PA), a major blood clot dissolver. According to the results, the levels of t-PA in people who were overweight were about 30 percent less than the people who were lean. In addition, those who exercised regularly through walking showed a significant increase in their t-PA levels by as much as 50 percent. Therefore, it was concluded that consistent aerobic activity helps to reverse the formation of blood clots.
#3 Exercise for Blood Clot Patients: When recovering from a blood clot, a gradual return to exercise and movement is recommended within the context of your specific situation. Walking and swimming are two exercises that can be done when a patient is ready. Don't try to rush into any type of exercise program too quickly, and always work with your physician to understand the extent of your condition and possible limitations of the activities.
Besides relieving some of the symptoms of blood clot recovery by increasing circulation, exercise has been shown to make the patient feel more energized. Again, aerobic exercise is an excellent way to recover from a pulmonary embolism because it improves the functions of the lungs. Do not wait until a blood clot forms before starting your exercise program. For all ages and fitness levels, there is are exercises designed to minimize the risk of developing blood clots, so talk with your doctor and make your health a top priority.