Knowing you have a weak heart can be a serious mental blow. Heart failure can fill your life with fear and often foster a feeling of powerlessness. But is there anything you can do about it?
It’s never too late to adopt heart-healthy strategies in an attempt to rescue your heart from damage. There is research showing that lifestyle changes can help repair your heart and make its working conditions significantly easier.
Studies have shown that exercise, in particular, can promote the growth of new muscle cells and blood vessels in people with heart failure.
Research from the American Heart Association showed that when men with moderate to severe heart failure exercised on a stationary bike for 30 minutes per day (two 15-minute sessions), areas of the heart weakened from heart failure became stronger.
Over a period of six months, participant’s exercise capacity improved by 20%.
Exercise is challenging for people with heart failure. Their hearts cannot pump enough blood to their organs, resulting in fatigue, weakness, and muscle shrinkage. But when they performed supervised activity at about half their capacity, their hearts got stronger and their abilities increased.
Consult your physician before beginning an exercise routine. Starting to increase activity levels slowly can help. Going for two 15-minute walks per day, for example, are steps in the right direction.
Activity rebuilds muscle cells, and blood vessels plus a heart-healthy diet can also help. Lean protein can help rebuild muscle tissue. Beans, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like omega-3 can all ease the burden on a weakened heart.
Keeping up with these efforts can start leading to improvements in heart and overall health. Consistency is essential for results, but a concerted effort will yield benefits. You may notice a drop in blood pressure in only a few short weeks.
Heart failure is a big blow, but it does not leave you powerless. There is evidence you can rebuild your heart with a calculated and measured approach.