Anyone who has experienced heart failure should be getting regular daily exercise. The heart is the body’s most important muscle, and like all others, it needs exercise, especially when it’s damaged.
Some people believe that if they have experienced heart failure, exercise may make it worse. But this could not be farther from the truth. In most cases, light to moderate exercise isn’t going to make your condition worse—it is actually some of the best medicine you can give your heart.
Exercise can slow heart rate, open arteries, and improve the way the heart works. This means less shortness of breath and less time spent in the hospital, resulting in longer life.
3 Types of Exercise
The key is to do exercises that can help keep the heart as strong as it can be within a healthy range. Experts have found three types of exercise that can work together to help make the heart stronger.
The first type of exercise involves workouts that improve flexibility. Exercises like yoga use meditation, slow movements, and breathing exercises. This can help with flexibility, improve breathing, and reduce stress.
Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice often called meditation in motion. Its slow, dance-like movements can lower blood pressure, ease stress, and provide more energy. One study found that it helped to improve the quality of life in people with heart failure.
The next exercise that should be added to a daily routine involves cardio. Regular cardiovascular exercise can help to strengthen the heart muscle and get the blood moving to improve circulation. Walking is an excellent way to start a cardio routine. If you are new to exercise or your doctor says to go slow, start with just 10 minutes or so, and keep a light pace.
If walking isn’t your thing, try going for a bike ride, dancing, or swimming. Find something you enjoy doing and slowly build up the pace to get your heart pumping. If you enjoy the exercise you are doing, you are more likely to stick with it and do it more often.
For the third exercise, add some strength training into your day. This exercise uses repeated muscle movement, which can tone muscles and build stronger bones. Resistance bands and light weights can help with strength training, but people with heart failure need to be extra cautious with this kind of exercise. Be sure to ask your doctor for guidance as they may instruct you not to lift over a certain weight.
By practicing these three types of exercise, you can help to ensure you have a strong and healthy heart. If you have recently experienced heart failure or any other heart issues, be sure to take it slowly and follow an exercise routine set out by a health care professional.