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Staying Active With an MPN: Is Exercise Okay?

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Published on January 22, 2015

Staying active is important to your physical and mental health. If you have an MPN, will exercise be harmful, especially with an enlarged spleen?  Experts say, “yes” but offer some cautionary advice.  Exercise is certainly vital for your overall well-being, but the type of exercise you choose will make a difference.  Experts share their advice.

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Transcript | Staying Active With an MPN: Is Exercise Okay?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of MD Anderson Cancer Center, its medical staff or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Jeff Folloder:

Since you mentioned the spleen, we’ve got a question that was sent in. With an enlarged spleen, are there any restrictions on activities or types of exercise? I’ll start with you Dr. V.

Dr. Verstovsek:

Well, the spleen is a blood organ, and it is full of blood with other supporting cells that maintain the structure, because there’s a capsule around it. But it is relatively soft. And if you hurt yourself, you have some kind of an accident; let’s say a horse riding, or you like to do some kind of a judo or something where you are too active for your condition where there might be a harm to your belly.

You have may have a harm by having a bleeding from that punch in your belly. So, I would, use the common sense. Otherwise, walking, running and other activities where there is no physical contact are just fine to do.

Jeff Folloder:

Lindsey? Do you recommend exercise programs for your patients?

Lindsey Lyle:

Yes, I do. I think that, in general, when patients are exercising and are active, they tell me that they’re feeling better. They, you know, it seems a little counter-intuitive, but exercise actually helps with energy. So each patient is different and what they’re able to do is different, you know.

So, for some exercising is walking around their block or walking around their yard or going out and doing a little bit of gardening. And then I have some patients who are in training for a marathon this coming January, you know.

And so I think that exercise is a healthy habit for everyone in general, and I think that in MPNs it can really enhance the patient’s energy—but, of course, realizing your limitations based on what your blood counts may be at the time, you know, your level of anemia or different things that are going on with the patient.

So I think that that’s an important part of your life, and it should be discussed with your healthcare team. 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of MD Anderson Cancer Center, its medical staff or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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