Your life depends on blood – literally. It’s exactly what keeps your body alive and well. But what happens when you have a low hemoglobin count?
Hemoglobin is the most crucial part of a red blood cell. It’s the protein that carries oxygen to the rest of your body.1 If you don’t have enough hemoglobin, you may develop anemia and feel tired, weak, and dizzy.2
A low hemoglobin count will show up in a standard blood test. Your doctor may have you eat more foods rich in iron, a mineral that’s needed to make red blood cells.3
The right kind of physical activity can also help. Endurance (aerobic) exercises promote blood cell formation, a process known as hematopoiesis. And when you have more blood cells, you’ll have more hemoglobin.4
To get started, check out these 5 exercises to increase low hemoglobin.
For a basic aerobic exercise, go for a walk. It’s that simple! Brisk and fast movements are best, but you can still benefit from a casual stroll. The movements will encourage blood cell production and therefore, hemoglobin.
Consider power walking if you don’t want to jog or run. It’s ideal when you’re dealing with injuries or other limitations. When possible, swap driving for walking. Using the stairs instead of the elevator will also help.
To decrease the chances of injury, always stretch before and after you walk.5
2. Jogging Or Running
Take things up a notch with a jog or run. These aerobic exercises will make you break a sweat while protecting your heart. Better yet, they’ll make more blood cells and increase hemoglobin. If you don’t want to head outside, take it to the treadmill or elliptical.
Don’t forget to stretch before and after. You should also use comfortable, quality sneakers. It’ll ensure that your exercise is enjoyable and safe.
Another low hemoglobin exercise is dancing. That’s right – getting your groove on will increase your hemoglobin levels.
As an aerobic exercise, dancing is a fun way to work out.6 Any genre, from salsa to Zumba, is a fair game. As long as it gets you moving, the exercise will increase hemoglobin.
Adult classes are a great way to socialize and meet other people. However, if you want to do it in the comfort of your own home, check online for free dance tutorials.
Biking or cycling is another exercise that increases hemoglobin. This aerobic activity is low-impact, so it won’t strain your body. You can also switch up the intensity according to your preference.7 Bonus: It doubles as a form of transportation.
Stationary bikes work just as well. This is a great option for the winters or when you don’t have a safe route to bike on. As with all workout machines, learn how to use a stationary bike safely.
You don’t have to stay on land to do hemoglobin exercises. Swimming is another low-impact activity that will increase your heart rate and build endurance. As you move around, your body will make more blood cells.
Remember, you don’t need to swim laps like an Olympic athlete. You’ll reap the benefits from casually wading around or doing light rounds around a pool.
Eat More Iron-Rich Foods Like Spinach And Dates
To boost your hemoglobin count, eat foods that are rich in heme iron. Examples include meat, poultry, and fish. Always choose lean versions for the healthiest option.
Non-heme iron, which is found in plants, can also help. Excellent sources include beans, nuts, cooked spinach, avocado, and dates. Eat them with vitamin C to encourage proper absorption of non-heme iron. Citrus fruits, broccoli, and strawberries are tasty sources.8
Your doctor might have you take iron supplements. However, doing aerobic exercise is always a great idea. It’ll not only boost your hemoglobin but your overall health!
|↑1||Hemoglobin. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2||What Is Anemia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑3||What Is Iron-Deficiency Anemia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑4||Baker, J. M., Michael De Lisio, and Gianni Parise. “Endurance exercise training promotes medullary hematopoiesis.” The FASEB Journal 25, no. 12 (2011): 4348-4357.|
|↑5||Stretches for Before and After Walking. Arthritis Foundation.|
|↑6||Endurance Exercise (Aerobic). American Heart Association.|
|↑7||Cycling – health benefits. BetterHealth Channel.|
|↑8||Hemoglobin and Your Health. Stanford Blood Center.|