What Exercises Can People With Heart Conditions Do?
Just like any other muscle, also your heart needs physical activity to help keep it in good condition. Suffering from a heart condition is no contraindication for physical activity.
Yet, if you are suffering from a heart condition, you will need to follow the advice of your doctor or healthcare professional to be able to benefit the most of activity or exercise is safe for you and what would be the best way to increase your level of physical activity. This is especially important if you’re not used to doing physical activity.
Your doctor, nurse, cardiac rehab team, physiotherapist or exercise specialist might advise you/ You might be advised to avoid strenuous activities such as lifting and pushing heavy objects and competitive, vigorous sports such as squash.
Swimming is ok for many people with a heart condition, but for some people, it can increase the strain on your heart. If you want to take up swimming, it’s very important that you check with your doctor or nurse first.
If your doctor ever gives you any new medicine, ask whether it affects what sort of activity you can do. This is especially the case if you have medicines such as beta-blockers, which slow down your heart rate.
General Workout Tips for People With Heart Disease
- Don’t exercise outdoors when it is too cold, hot or humid without checking with your doctor first. High humidity may cause you to tire more quickly. Extreme temperatures can interfere with circulation, make breathing difficult and cause chest pain. Better choices are indoor activities such as mall walking or a treadmill.
- Make sure you stay hydrated – within reason. It is important to drink water even before you feel thirsty, especially on hot days. But, be careful not to drink too much water. Check with your doctor first!
- If your exercise program has been interrupted for more than a few days (for example, due to illness, vacation or bad weather), make sure you ease back into the routine. Start with a reduced level of activity, and gradually increase it until you are back where you started.
As you exercise, it is normal to feel short of breath, sweat and a faster heartbeat than normal.
When symptoms are not normal:
- If you get extremely short of breath, weak, dizzy or lightheaded while exercising, slow your pace or rest. While resting, keep your feet up. If your symptoms continue, call your doctor or nurse.
- If you have a fast or irregular heartbeat, rest and try to calm down. Check your pulse after 15 minutes. If it is higher than 120-150 beats per minute, call your doctor.
- If you have any type of pain, do not continue that exercise. Talk to your doctor.
- If you have pain or pressure in your chest, arm, neck, jaw or shoulder, call 911.