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Heart Disease: Exercising for a Healthy Heart

When you have coronary artery disease, it is very important to exercise regularly. If you aren't already active, your doctor may want you to begin an exercise program. Ask your doctor about taking part in a cardiac rehab program. Rehab can help you be more active and make lifestyle changes that can lead to a stronger heart and better health.

Even if you can only do a small amount of exercise, it is better than not doing any exercise at all.

  • Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Your doctor may do an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) and possibly an exercise stress test to assess how much activity your heart can safely handle.
  • After you start exercising, stop your activity immediately if you experience chest pain, feel faint or lightheaded, or become extremely out of breath.
  • Start an exercise program, such as walking, cycling, or jogging. Try to do moderate activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. Aim for a goal to exercise for at least 2½ hours a week.
  • Exercise can help lower the chance of a heart attack.
  • A complete exercise program consists of aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching.
  • Set goals you can reach. If you expect too much, you are likely to become discouraged and stop exercising.

how.gif How can I get started on an exercise program?

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
Current as ofMarch 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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