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Does Exercise Help Anemia?

author image Maria Warren, R.N.
A registered nurse, Maria Warren has worked as a professional health writer since 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Salem State College and a Master of Public Health in nutrition from Tufts University. Warren is currently working toward a nurse practitioner license.
Does Exercise Help Anemia?
Physical activity can help reduce fatigue caused by anemia. Photo Credit Maridav/iStock/Getty Images

Anemia is a condition in which you have less than the normal number of red blood cells your body needs. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen from the lungs to your body organs. If you have low levels of red blood cells, your body organs may not be able to function properly due to lack of oxygenation. Recent research shows that regular physical exercise can help improve anemia.


Excess fatigue is the most common symptoms of all types of anemia, according to to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Fatigue can prevent you from completing daily tasks, which can affect the quality of your life. Regular physical exercise can help prevent fatigue caused by anemia, according to The Ohio State University Medical Center. Exercise helps increase muscle strength and promotes circulation of blood to body organs, which leads to increased energy levels. If you have anemia, consult your doctor before you engage in any new physical exercise.

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Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disease in which red blood cells become crescent-shaped due to the presence of an abnormal hemoglobin. Crescent-shaped red blood cells cannot carry enough oxygen to your body, which leads to symptoms of anemia. Your doctor may advise you to engage in regular moderate exercise to help make your body stronger and healthier, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Drink adequate amounts of water before and after exercise to prevent dehydration.

Kidney Disease

Regular moderate physical exercise can also help improve anemia caused by kidney diseases, according to the Dialysis Patient Citizens website. Healthy kidneys usually produce erythropoietin, a hormone that stimulates production of red blood cells. Regular exercise makes your kidneys strong enough to produce erythropoietin. If you have kidney disease, regular exercise will help increase the production of red blood cells. Consult your doctor before you begin to exercise.


A recent study shows that regular moderate physical exercise can help improve anemia and other side effects caused by chemotherapy and radiation treatments, according to the National Cancer Institute. Another study shows that regular exercise in women with breast cancer can help prevent anemia, according to BreastCancer.org. Examples of moderate exercises include brisk walking, swimming, jogging, riding a stationery bicycle, and performing house chores such as cleaning or mowing the lawn.

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