Exercise and Heart Disease


Approaching exercise with a heart condition.

There are many roads to good health, and nearly all of them intersect at diet and exercise. But not everyone is able to perform vigorous physical activity: people with heart conditions like aortic disease, coronary artery disease, and congenital heart disease are discouraged from vigorous physical activity. And the challenge of creating and maintaining a heart-healthy exercise regimen might be discouraging to some heart patients.

But exercise is still one of the best ways to stay healthy, and even people who suffer from heart conditions should commit to a regular exercise routine. Exercise, when paired with advice from a cardiovascular specialist and a healthy diet, can yield positive results.

Benefits of exercise

People with heart ailments should do what they can to maintain a regular exercise routine—and exercising regularly can impact more than just your physical health. In addition to controlling weight loss, exercise can help decrease the symptoms of various heart illnesses, like shortness of breath. And a regular routine has other advantages: reducing stress, improving mood, boosting energy and helping to regulate sleep are all consequences of maintaining an exercise schedule. And the better a person feels, the more likely he is to keep up an exercise schedule.

Heart-healthy workouts

Depending on a person’s condition, aerobic exercise can still be a part of a regular workout. Each workout session should include warm-up, conditioning, and a cool-down. To ensure that exercise a regular part of each day, people should choose exercises that they enjoy (for example, activities like walking, etc). Staying hydrated throughout the workout should also be a priority, and people should drink water before, during, and after exercising. As always, people should check with their specialists to make sure their exercise routines are acceptable and effective.

Pairing exercise with diet

Diet is also an important part of staying healthy, and people who work out need to make sure they are getting the nutrition they need in order to keep exercising. Heart patients should NOT! eat foods high in trans fats, refined sugar and flour, and sodium. Instead, heart patients should focus on eating whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. Building a diet around these foods will also provide enough energy to work out regularly. Organizations like the American Heart Association offer recipes and tips on healthy eating, but patients should always consult with a specialist before making major diet changes.

Suffering from a heart ailment requires significant lifestyle changes, and juggling them all can pose a real challenge. But with guidance from a doctor, a commitment to healthy eating and sticking to an exercise schedule, heart patients can make a real difference in their overall health.


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