Staying Healthy & Active

Continuing to stay active is an essential part of staying healthy. Physical exercise should form a part of your daily or weekly routine, building up strength in your joints and muscles may lessen the risk of future bleed incidents.

Staying Healthy & Active

Why is it important for me to exercise?

Sport has many benefits for everybody, but particularly for people with haemophilia. By staying fit and keeping your joints strong and muscles flexible, you can lessen your risk of bleeds and reduce your need for clotting factor concentrate. Fewer bleeds means less damage to your joints and muscles, which could also reduce your risk of arthritis or the need for surgery in the future.

Sport can help in a number of ways:

  • Increases your muscle strength and endurance
  • Improves your joint stability
  • Builds confidence and self esteem
  • Offers a great way to socialise with other people
  • Keeps you in shape and reduces weight gain, which could put pressure on your joints
  • Reduces cardiovascular risk

Even if you have prophylactic treatment, research has shown that men who are active, fit and strong have fewer problems with their bleeds compared to men who do not participate enthusiastically in sport and leisure activities and who are possibly overweight.

Always speak to your haemophilia nurse or physiotherapist before you start a new sport

Are there any sports that I can't do?

Many people with mild forms of haemophilia participate in all kinds of sports.. If you have severe haemophilia, you will need to be more careful about which sports you choose, although there are still plenty of sports you can enjoy safely. It is important to choose a sport you enjoy to help to keep yourself motivated.

The risk-rating scheme has been designed by the National Haemophilia Foundation and World Federation of Haemophilia to give you an idea of the sports you can enjoy with haemophilia.
The scheme is for guidance only.

Minimal risk – most people with haemophilia can participate safely in this sport


The physical, social and psychological benefits often outweigh the risks

Cross-country skiing
Ice skating
Martial arts (non-contact)
Roller-skating/blading Rock-climbing

Risks outweigh the benefits. The nature of these activities makes them dangerous even for those without haemophilia

Downhill skiing
Horse riding
Ice hockey
Martial arts (contact)

There is a risk associated with every sport. The level of risk is dependent on the severity of your haemophilia. Seek advice from your haemophilia centre prior to taking part in sport.

Sports we recommend for you



Swimming is one of the few ways of getting exercise that improves your all-round fitness because it can boost strength, stamina and flexibility all at the same time. It has both the cardiovascular benefits of running and some of the strength-building effects of weight training because it uses all the major muscle groups. Swimming also helps to keep your joints flexible, especially in the neck, shoulders, hips and groin as your limbs and body move through the water. It is highly recommended for most people with haemophilia.

What common injuries are associated with swimming?

Most swimming injuries are overuse injuries or injuries that result from the use of incorrect stroke techniques. ‘Swimmers shoulder' is the most common overuse injury and involves the inflammation of the shoulder tendons. At the elbow, an incorrect front crawl stroke can lead to excessive stresses on the elbow. ‘Breaststroker's knee' is a ligament sprain resulting from repetitive stress on the inner side of the knee joint.



Cycling is highly recommended for people with haemophilia because it enables you to develop muscle strength in your legs without putting weight-bearing stress on your joints.

What common injuries are associated with cycling?

Most injuries in cycling are caused by a fall. Fractures and abrasions / lacerations are common during a fall. It is also important to be aware of head injuries as these may lead to serious complications. Overuse injuries of the neck back and lower limb joints may also occur. ‘Saddle-sores' are also common in cyclists.



Football is an aerobic, skilful and popular sport. Players spend some of their time sprinting and other times running fast or slowly, so a game can be an excellent cardiovascular workout. It also involves players all working together, making it a great team sport.

What common injuries are associated with football?

Most injuries are to the lower limbs, including muscle sprains, ligament strains, and bruises. Cuts are also common. A small number of injuries are fractures. Low back and pelvic pain are also seen.



Basketball requires players to run, jump, catch and throw and demands a good level of fitness and strength. It is an excellent way to build endurance, develop concentration and build up muscle.

What common injuries are associated with basketball?

Knees and ankles are the most vulnerable joints in basketball, the majority of injuries being sprains and strains. Upper limb injuries are fairly uncommon. A small proportion of injuries involve the eyes and face.



Recreational running / jogging is one of the most popular aerobic activities across the world. Running can be done individually, with friends or part of a club or running group and is a great way to maintain fitness. Running can put a lot of pressure on your joints, so long distance running isn't recommended.

What common injuries are associated with jogging?

A number of injuries are common in the foot/lower leg including Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, joint / ligament sprains, muscle strains, stress fractures of the foot and leg and compartmental syndromes. The knee is at risk of joint pain, tears and tendonitis, as well as sprains and strains.

Weight Training

Weight Training

Weight training has a number of benefits: it can improve general fitness, increase muscle strength, increase limb girth, assist with weight loss and improve flexibility.

What common injuries are associated with weight training?

Muscle strains due to excessive weights being used. Overuse injuries of muscle/ligament due to incorrect technique.

Pain Managment

Joint damage can cause long-term pain and the loss of mobility, which needs to be managed in order to maintain independence.

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Prophylaxis and Sports

It is much easier to prevent joint damage than to repair it after it has happened.

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