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Physical wellness for people living with HIV/AIDS: An interview

Copyrights: MONUSCO Flickr

Physical wellness for people living with HIV/AIDS: An interview

An interview from Radio 786 in a Western Cape on Wellness (WoW) session with professor Lloyd Leach from the University of the Western Cape on the topic of physical activity for health among people living with HIV/AIDS.

Radio 786: What is physical wellness all about? Specifically for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA)?

Lloyd Leach: Physical wellness means different things to different people, but essentially it refers to the proper functioning of the body in order to cope with the physical activities of daily living (ADLs), inclusive of domestic and work-related or occupational activities, as well as having the extra energy and capacity to pursue recreational and leisure activities, such as hiking, swimming, playing sport, etc. without undue fatigue.

Specifically for PLWHA, where the immune system is weakened or compromised due to infection by HIV, having optimal physical wellness is particularly important in order to strengthen the body’s defense (immune) mechanisms against the virus, as well as allow the individual to pursue their normal ADLs and maintain an independent lifestyle (free from illness and dependency on others: family, friends, relatives, work colleagues, etc.)

Q: Why should I adopt a physically active lifestyle? Specifically for PLWHA?

A: A physically active lifestyle means participating in regular physical activity when at home or at work or during your leisure time. The range of physical activities can vary from light domestic chores, such as making your bed, and sweeping your room or the yard, to more competitive sport activities, such as playing netball, basketball, or going to the gym. The physical activity you engage in needs to fit into your fitness levels and current lifestyle.

A physically active lifestyle is important because it improves the overall functioning of the body, i.e. the muscles, bones, joints, and organs, like the heart and lungs. If your body is functioning properly, this impacts directly on your quality of life and your ability to do things for yourself, your family, and for others in the community or at work.

Once again, specifically for PLWHA, the condition is a tissue-wasting disorder that results in the loss of muscle tissue, muscle strength, body weight and energy stores causing chronic fatigue, lethargy and overall body weakness. These ailments have a direct impact on your quality of life, and affect not only your physical and mental health, but also the people around you as well. So, for PLWHA, adopting and/or maintaining a physically active lifestyle is of critical importance to having a good quality of life and being functionally independent.

 Photo: Professor Lloyd Leach


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Lloyd Leach


Radio 786: WoW! MY Wellness


Friday, November 29, 2019 - 20:10