Sports Medicine

How To Maintain Your Fitness When You Live With A Heart Condition

Maintaining balanced nutrition and getting regular exercise are two of the most important factors in ensuring that you follow a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of experiencing health issues. Particularly for those living with a heart condition, whether it is a minor arrhythmia or a more severe condition, staying fit could be the key to reversing your current health issue.

Benefits of regular exercise

Just like any other muscle, the heart needs regular exercise to become stronger and healthier. When individuals exercise their heart through different forms of training, it will normally pump more blood throughout the body. Moreover, it will send the necessary amount of oxygen to all the vital organs, including the lungs, liver and stomach. Regular exercise can also help to keep the arteries and other blood vessels flexible and minimize the risk of developing high blood pressure.

Exercising on a regular basis for 20-30 minutes per day can help you to stay fit even if you live with a heart condition. Several studies have shown that a close relationship exists between exercise and the prevention of heart disease. It has been established that heart attack patients who participate in a regular exercise program experience a significantly lower death rate. Another study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that women who walked for at least half an hour a day increased the levels of good cholesterol and decreased the danger of deteriorating their health condition.

How much exercise is sufficient?

The American Heart Association states that 30 minutes of exercise per day for at least five days a week can help you to reduce the risk of heart disease. The type of exercise you choose can vary from walking, jogging or swimming to climbing stairs, cycling, or taking part in team sports. However, it is always a good idea to check the type of exercise that suits your needs best with a doctor in order to avoid overstressing the heart and deteriorating an existing health issue.

What type of exercise is suitable?

There are three basic types of exercise that people with heart issues should stick to: aerobic exercise, resistance training, and stretching. Aerobic exercise can improve blood flow and strengthen the heart, lungs and respiratory system. Resistance exercise, meanwhile, including weight lifting or using resistance bands, can increase muscle endurance. Lastly, stretching or flexibility exercises help keep the muscles relaxed and the joints mobile at all times.

Listen to your body

While exercising, it is vital to listen to your body and avoid overexerting yourself. It’s important to be aware of the risk of sudden cardiac arrest, which increases if you have heart disease. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t exercise, but it’s important to be aware of your breathing and overall feeling of wellness while you work out. While it is normal to feel aware of your breathing, be slightly out of breath, and feel a little tired and sweaty, it is not normal to experience chest pain, gasping, a pounding heartbeat, or nervousness. Staying fit does not mean overstressing your body.

Physical activity can really help you stay in good health. For those living with a heart condition, it is even more important to stay fit in order to reduce the risk of more serious future heart problems. Exercise can also improve your overall quality of life and make you feel relaxed and emotionally well.


By Jess Walter

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