Why Exercise Helps When You Have Mito

If you have mitochondrial disease (mito), regular exercise will increase your fitness, improve your physical and mental health and help you feel fit and strong.

Key Points

  • Exercise can help you live well with mito
  • See your doctor and have a heart check before starting a new exercise program
  • Find a physio or exercise physiologist to help you develop an exercise plan
  • Find an exercise you enjoy
  • Set small goals
  • Build up slowly
  • Be aware of your pain levels
  • Take regular breaks
  • Join a community exercise group
  • Stop if you have severe pain, excessive tiredness or other symptoms
  • Recognise, enjoy and reward your success

Download the Exercise and Mito fact sheet for more information and practical tips

How does exercise help?

If you have mito, exercise gives you more energy by increasing the number of healthy mitochondria in your cells, and keeping them functioning at their best. Here are some of the reasons why exercise is great for people with mito:

Exercise helps you feel fit and strong

  • Improves your fitness and energy levels, which makes it easier to do daily tasks
  • Increases your strength
  • Improves your coordination, balance and flexibility, reducing your risk of falls and injuries
  • Improves your mood and mental health
  • Reduces body fat
  • Improves your confidence with physical activity
Person walking

Exercise helps you live well with mito

  • Gives you more energy so you don’t feel as tired
  • Makes your muscles stronger and increases muscle mass, reversing any muscle loss due to inactivity or ageing
  • Helps to protect you against chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease
  • Improves your quality of life and helps you maintain independence
Woman doing yoga

How to start exercising

It’s important to have a heart check (known as a cardiac screening) before you start a new exercise program. See your specialist doctor to have this done first. Your doctor can give you advice on the best kind of exercise for you and keep track of your health while you start a new exercise routine.

Find out more

We'd love to hear from you

Let us know what you think about this Fact Sheet by filling in a quick 3-minute survey.

Disclaimer: Resources provided by the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation Limited (Mito Foundation), offers general information and is not a substitute for medical advice. It is essential to assess the suitability of the content for your individual circumstances and make decisions based on your medical condition. The information’s accuracy is subject to change, and we do not guarantee ongoing currency or availability. While efforts are made to ensure accuracy, Mito Foundation is not obligated to provide updated information. The copyright for this document and its content belongs to, or is licensed to, Mito Foundation, and reproduction without prior written consent is prohibited.

Author(s): Mito Foundation
Version: 1
Last reviewed: March 2023