High Cholesterol: Exercise for a Healthy Heart
Exercise Precautions for People With Heart Disease
- Discuss your exercise plans with your doctor.
- Review your exercise routine with your doctor regularly. This is particularly important if changes have been made in your medications. Ask your doctor about how any medication changes may affect you and your body's response to exercise before continuing your regular exercise program. New medications can greatly affect your response to activity.
- If you are too tired and are not sure if it is related to overexertion, ask yourself, "What did I do yesterday?" Try to change your activities by starting out at a lower level today. Do not exercise if you are feeling very overtired. Pace yourself, and balance your activities with rest.
- Ask your doctor what aerobic and strengthening exercises are appropriate for you and which exercises you should avoid.
- Don’t exercise outdoors when it is too cold, hot, or humid. High humidity may cause you to become fatigued more quickly. Extreme temperatures can interfere with your circulation and make breathing difficult. Instead, try indoor activities such as mall walking.
- Avoid extremely hot and cold showers or sauna baths after exercise.
- Reduce your activity level if your exercise program has been interrupted for a few days (for example, due to illness, vacation, or bad weather). Then, gradually increase to your regular activity level.
- Do not exercise if you are not feeling well or have a fever. Wait a few days after all symptoms disappear before starting your exercise program, unless your doctor gives you other directions.
- If you are short of breath during any activity or have increased fatigue, slow your activity level, or rest. Keep your feet raised or elevated when resting. If you continue to have shortness of breath, call your doctor. Your doctor may make changes in your medications, diet, or fluid restrictions.
- If you develop a rapid or irregular heartbeat or have heart palpitations, rest. Check your pulse after you rest for a few minutes. If your pulse is still irregular or above 100 beats per minute, call your doctor for further instructions.
- Do not ignore pain. If you have chest pain or pain anywhere else in your body, do not continue the activity. If you perform an activity while you are in pain, you may be doing more harm than good. Ask your doctor or physical therapist for specific guidelines. Learn to "read" your body and know when you need to stop an activity.
Stop exercising and rest if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Chest pain
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Unexplained weight gain or swelling
- Pressure or pain in your chest, neck, arm, jaw, or shoulder
- Any other symptoms that cause concern
Call your doctor or seek emergency treatment immediately if these symptoms do not go away quickly, or if such symptoms continue to occur.