Choose continuous rhythmic activities such as
walking, cycling, or water exercises.
Listen to your body: Rest
when you are tired, and remember that short periods of exercise are still
Time your medicines with your exercise, If you
exercise shortly after taking your medicine, you may become dizzy or faint.
It is best to wait a while after taking your medicine before you begin your
Are not feeling well.
Have had a
weight gain of 3 lb (1.4 kg) or
more in 2 to 3 days (alert your doctor).
Warm up before you exercise, and cool down afterward—for at least 15
minutes each. This will help your heart gradually prepare for and recover from
exercise and avoid pushing your heart too hard.
A good warm-up and cooldown consists of very light activity, such
as slow walking or cycling, followed by stretching that focuses on the muscles
used during the session.
2. Flexibility exercises
Stretching relaxes the mind and tunes up the body. Numerous
benefits are associated with an increase of flexibility, such as improvement in
overall balance, stability, and mobility. It also promotes good circulation,
increases your level of relaxation, and just feels good.
A lack of flexibility is often associated with poor posture and low
back pain. Stretch in a slow, controlled manner and continue to breathe through
each stretch. Begin by trying each stretch once and gradually increasing the
duration and repetition as you feel more comfortable. Carefully follow the
Make stretching a part of your warm-up and cooldown every time you
General guidelines for flexibility exercises
Frequency: Do stretching exercises at least 3
days a week.
Intensity: Stretch to a position of mild
Duration: Hold each stretch 10 to 30
Repetition: Do each stretch 3 to 5
Type: Control and hold without resistance, with an emphasis
on lower back and legs.
3. Aerobic exercise
Aerobic activities that are popular with people who have heart failure
are walking and stationary cycling. Remember to first exercise at a low
intensity. You can gradually increase the intensity and duration of your
exercise sessions as long as your tolerance improves with no symptoms. Listen
to your body by monitoring your
rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and being aware of
your heart rate. Your rehab team may give you a target heart rate range that is safe for you.
An example of a walking and cycling program for people who have heart
failure is shown below.
Stop exercising and alert your doctor if you experience angina (chest pain or pressure), shortness of breath, unexplained dizziness, or significant pain or discomfort.
4. Weight training
Weight training has been shown to be very effective for people who have
heart problems. It can improve your muscular strength and endurance as
well as help reduce cardiac risk factors. It also helps decrease how hard your
heart must work during daily activities.
It is important that you follow your health professional's
guidelines regarding correct technique, breathing, and intensity while you
Primary Medical Reviewer
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer
John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
Current as of
September 27, 2012
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
September 27, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this