When you or a loved one has heart disease, regular exercise becomes even more essential to stave off the progression of the disease further. This is because exercise not only strengthens your heart muscle so you can be active without experiencing symptoms like chest pain, but exercise can also lower blood pressure, control blood sugar, strengthen your bones, and help with weight loss. With that in mind, here are some exercises for loved ones with heart disease to consider trying out.
Considerations Before You Start Exercising
Before you embark on any sort of exercise program, whether on your own or within the safety and comfort of a dedicated and reputable residential community, it is best to discuss your options with your trusted healthcare provider, who will be in the best position to recommend the safest exercises for your current fitness and mobility levels. This is especially so if you’ve experienced any of the following:
- A recent heart attack
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- A recent heart procedure or surgery
Before and after you exercise, it is important to stretch for at least five minutes. Stretching warms up all the muscles in your body – including your heart muscles – to minimize your risk of injury later on. Depending on your fitness level and training plan, this can involve static stretches, where you hold a single position for a certain period of time, or dynamic stretches, which are controlled movements to activate your full range of motion. Typically, dynamic stretches are performed before exercise, while static stretches are for the cool-down stage afterward.
Aerobic exercises are those that involve active movements, which require you to use your heart and lungs for a long period of time. This includes activities like walking, jogging, swimming, and biking, and is most effective when done at least 3 times every week. These exercises improve blood circulation throughout your body while gradually training your heart to use oxygen more efficiently every time you work out.
Once you’ve completed your warmup stretching before exercise, you’re ready to start your aerobic exercise! Be sure to start slow and steady, only increasing your workout intensity once you’re sufficiently strong or your healthcare provider gives you the green light. Additionally, be sure to drink sufficient water and take short breaks should you feel tired during your workout and stop completely should you feel any heart symptoms.
Resistance weight training is an alternative way to improve your strength and muscle function. Though they do not directly help your heart like aerobic exercises do, weight training can effectively condition your muscles to work better together, making it easier for you to do other types of exercises. To get started on weight training, discuss your health goals with a trusted physical trainer and your healthcare provider. Your trainer will show you how to perform each move correctly and without straining yourself too hard. As always, make sure you breathe steadily when lifting weights, take regular rest breaks, and stay hydrated!
By applying these workout tips and suggestions, living with heart disease may become easier as you or your loved ones grow stronger with every workout; with consistent effort, you’ll see great results in no time.