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How Exercise Helps for POTS

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Why is movement so important in POTS?

One of the big myths used to be that POTS is caused by deconditioning. We now know that that is not true.

When you received your diagnosis, you might have been told to drink more water, eat more salt, wear compression stockings, and exercise.

But what kind of exercise, how often, and why does it even help?

We'll go through all of these questions, but let's start at the beginning. Why is it believed that exercise helps?

Here is how and why exercise helps in POTS:

1. Cardio training helps improve stroke and blood volume, which helps with symptoms. In POTS, there is often low blood volume. This is why salt and water are also recommended. Cardio training also helps with this.

2. Exercise helps increase the heart's muscle mass. Some studies have shown that POTS patients have smaller heart chamber sizes and lower heart muscle mass. This makes the heart pump more times to deliver the same amount of blood, thus increasing the heart rate.

3. There is research showing that POTS is an autoimmune disease. Exercise decreases levels of TNF (tumor necrosis factor) and CRP (C-reactive protein), both of which are involved in systemic inflammation. The key here is that you allow the body enough time to recover after each session and that you do not overdo it.

There are a few POTS-specific exercise programs, such as the Levine protocol. It's a program that has helped many, but oftentimes you have to build up to get to that program.

What effect(s) implementing a movement routine had on you? Let me know in the comments below.


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