Exercise is generally safe if you have chronic stable heart failure. Exercise can improve your breathing, blood pressure, and blood flow. As you become more active, your quality of life and mood may get better, too. Studies show it can even lower your risk of hospitalization or death compared to people with heart failure who don’t exercise.
Choosing the right type of exercise depends on many factors. First, check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to exercise. Discuss the type of exercise that is best for your current physical condition. You don’t want to hurt other parts of your body. Next, make sure you are trained to do the exercises correctly. You will likely be told to build up to 3 to 5 days a week of aerobic exercise. Examples include biking, walking, or jogging. You should also have 10- to 15-minute warm-up and cool-down periods.
Your doctor may suggest a cardiac rehabilitation exercise program -- cardiac rehab, for short. These programs are designed for people with heart failure and other heart problems. They focus on creating a plan for each person’s unique needs. Cardiac rehab includes:
- Exercise training
- Emotional support
- Lifestyle education
Don’t let heart failure defeat you, exercise may be right for you!