Stay Active Each Day
Those diagnosed with heart failure tend to have questions regarding the safety and benefits of physical activity. Some basic guidelines are provided below.
Benefits of Exercise
Even those with heart failure can enjoy physical activity and exercise. In fact, an active lifestyle can make a huge difference in your health. Below are a few benefits you can reap from regular activity:
- More energy
- Deeper sleep
- Stronger muscles, making everyday tasks easier
- Aids in maintaining or losing weight
- Improved mood and outlook
The “Best” Exercise Plan
A good exercise plan should be tailored to your body, including health, habits, and interests. Speak with your healthcare providers before starting any exercise plan, as they can help find the best exercise to suit your needs. They can also tell you if there are any exercises you should be avoiding.
Most people diagnosed with heart failure have many safe activities and exercises to choose from. For example, walking, swimming, and biking are great sources of exercises that can be performed at the fitness level that matched your needs. As long as you pick an activity you enjoy, you’re much more likely to exercise consistently and maintain the motivation to keep exercising over the long term.
While your goal is regular activity, begin slowly and gradually increasing the time and level of activity. Regular exercise usually involved good and bad days, so be sure to listen to your body and be aware of your limits. Adjust your activities as needed.
Staying Safe While Exercising
How can you be sure to exercise safely if you don’t know your physical limitations yet?
First, be sure to follow the guidelines provides by your healthcare providers regarding the amount and type of activity you should be doing. You should be monitoring your body’s reaction to this exercise. You want to be able to make conversation while exercising, and you don’t want to be exhausted the next day. Include regular rest periods during exercise, and stop to rest whenever your body tells you (usually feeling tired to shortness of breath).
Stop your exercise and call your healthcare provider if any of the following symptoms appear:
- Pain or pressure in the chest, neck, arm, jaw, or shoulder
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Fast or slow heartbeat
- Irregular heartbeat
Talk Your Walk
Always make sure you’re able to carry a conversation during physical activity. This is a great guideline to ensure you’re exercising within your limits.
- 3D Echo
- Cardiac Catheterization
- Cardiac CT
- Cardiac MRI
- Electrocardiograms (EKG, ECG)
- Electrophysiology Study
- Stress Testing