Linda S. Pescatello, FACSM, FAHA, FNAK
Distinguished Professor of Kinesiology
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
Regular physical activity participation improves mental and physical health outcomes among people living with HIV (PLWH). Habitual physical activity also improves substance use outcomes. The exercise dose to elicit these therapeutic benefits among PLWH with substance use (SU) has not been established partially due to the lack of rigor in study designs and the low adherence to exercise in this patient population. An exercise prescription (ExRx) is the process whereby the recommended amount of physical activity is designed in a systematic and individualized manner in terms of the Frequency (How Often?), Intensity (How Hard?), Time (Duration or How Long?), and Type (What Kind?) or the FITT principle. The Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA) at Yale University has an interest in learning more about how physical activity can be recommended to improve the heart health of PLWH with SU. Considering this CIRA request, while acknowledging the uncertainty of the exercise dose that elicits therapeutic benefits for this patient population, I will address the following objectives in my presentation: 1) Overview basic definitions and concepts in ExRx; 2) Discuss an ExRx that FITTs people PLWH and SU; and 3) Deliberate special considerations in ExRx for PLWH and SU with a focus on heart health. Takeaways from this presentation will include the need for a higher level of health monitoring, how to integrate multicomponent types of exercise into the FITT ExRx, and supplementing exercise with self-regulation of biometrics to increase exercise adherence.