Exercising With Hearing Loss: Prescription for Health

American College of Sports Medicine

April 12, 2010


Do not let hearing loss prevent you from participating in regular exercise! Hearing loss generally does not affect the benefits that can be derived from regular physical activity. The key is to find activities you enjoy and feel comfortable doing so that you will stick to your program over the long-term.

Getting Started

  • Talk with your health care provider before starting an exercise program and ask for specific programming recommendations or special precautions.

  • The primary goal of your program is to improve your overall fitness by finding activities that you enjoy and will do on a regular basis. Choose environments that are comfortable and familiar to you and avoid situations that increase anxiety.

  • To improve cardiovascular fitness, choose large-muscle activities that can be done continuously, such as walking, swimming, and cycling.

  • If your fitness level is low, start with shorter sessions (10 to 15 minutes) and gradually build up to 30 minutes of aerobic activity, at least five days per week.

  • At least two days per week, follow a strength-training program with one to three sets of exercises for the major muscle groups, with 10 to 15 repetitions.

  • Mind-body activities, such as yoga and tai chi, are particularly effective for reducing anxiety and enhancing relaxation.

Exercise Cautions

  • If you have been inactive, consider joining a structured, supervised program to help develop a routine that you will continue to do on a regular basis.

  • If you have any other conditions, such as heart disease or hypertension, follow the recommendations specific to that condition.

Your exercise program should be designed to maximize the benefits with the fewest risks of aggravating your health or physical condition. Consider contacting a certified health and fitness professional* who can work with you and your health care provider to establish realistic goals and design a safe and effective program that addresses your specific needs.

For more information, visit www.exerciseismedicine.org or e-mail eim@acsm.org.

* If your health care provider has not cleared you for independent physical activity and would like you to be monitored in a hospital setting or a medical fitness facility, you should exercise only under the supervision of a certified professional. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has two groups of certified fitness professionals that could meet your needs. The ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist (CES) is certified to support those with heart disease, diabetes and lung disease. The ACSM Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP) is qualified to support patients with a wide range of health challenges. You may locate all ACSM-certified fitness professionals by using the ProFinder at www.acsm.org.

Sources: ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription and other ACSM publications.


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