Exercise Precautions for People With Heart Disease
Discuss any 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 a 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 (but do not exercise if you are feeling very overtired). Pace yourself and balance activities with rest.
Avoid heavy lifting, pushing heavy objects, and chores such as raking, shoveling, mowing, and scrubbing. Chores around the house may sometimes be tiring, so ask for help.
Ask your doctor what aerobic and strengthening exercises are appropriate for you and which exercises you should avoid.
Avoid even short periods of bed rest after exercise since it reduces exercise tolerance. If you become overly fatigued or short of breath with exercise, take a rest period in a comfortable chair.
Avoid exercising outdoors when it is too cold, hot, or humid. High humidity may cause you to become fatigued more quickly and extreme temperatures can interfere with circulation and make breathing difficult. Instead, try indoor activities such as mall walking.
Avoid extremely hot and cold showers, saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs after exercise.
Do not go up steep hills during exercise, whenever possible. If you must walk on a hilly area, slow your walking pace when going uphill to avoid working too hard. Watch your heart rate closely and change the activity as needed.
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 as tolerated.
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 down or rest. 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.