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Blood Thinners and Exercise

author image Sherry David, R.N.
Sherry David is a registered nurse with extensive experience in health and wellness. She has been writing health and nutrition articles since 2005. David graduated from Salem State University with a Bachelor of Science in nursing and is working toward a master’s degree in public health nutrition.
Blood Thinners and Exercise
Walking Photo Credit: blyjak/iStock/Getty Images

Your doctor may advise you to avoid vigorous exercise while you are taking blood thinners, medications used to reduce the formation of blood clots in arteries and veins. Falls or Injuries during vigorous exercise can cause serious internal bleeding.There are several safe forms of exercises you can engage in while taking blood thinners.

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Blood thinners slow blood clotting, which increases the risk for severe bleeding even from minor injuries. The doctor may advise you to avoid vigorous physical exercise or contact sports such as wrestling, boxing, football and hockey that may result in a serious fall or other injury, according to the Ohio State Medical Center.

Safe Exercise

You can still engage in physical activities. Walking, swimming and bike riding are safe activities for people taking blood thinners, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Avoid walking barefoot to prevent injury to your feet. Wear a helmet while riding a bike to protect your head. Consult with your doctor before you engage in any new form of physical activity.

Internal Bleeding

If you fall or injure yourself during physical activities, seek immediate medical attention. Blows to your head or body can lead to serious internal bleeding. Symptoms of internal bleeding include dizziness, weakness, unusual bruising, severe headache, bleeding from the nose, gums or ears, dark brown or red urine and black tarry stool, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your doctor.


Certain medications and dietary supplements can interact with blood thinners. Consult your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications, herbal products and multivitamins. The doctor may need to adjust the dosage of your blood thinner. Use an electric razor to shave and brush and floss your teeth gently to prevent bleeding gums.

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