A heart attack doesn’t have to mean an end to life as you know it. Whether or not you were physically fit prior to your heart attack, exercise is an important part of your recovery and will go a long way towards keeping you healthy. A regular fitness routine can increase stamina, improve strength and support heart health. It’s important to ease into an exercise program after having a heart attack.
Your doctor will let you know when it’s safe for you to begin exercising after a heart attack. Most people start their post-heart attack exercise in a cardiac rehabilitation program, which is staffed by exercise physiologists and cardiac nurses. You’ll be given clear guidelines and monitored closely to ensure you’re safe and healthy, and you’ll be in the company of other cardiac patients, which can help to build a sense of camaraderie.
Walking is one of the best activities you can do after a heart attack. You should start gradually, by simply walking around your home for just a few minutes. Over time, you’ll want to increase your pace so that you’re walking at a faster speed. The goal is to build up to the point where you can walk for 30 to 45 minutes, but this can take several months. Remember: easy does it. Take it step by step and eventually you’ll get there.
As you build up more stamina, you may decide to add other activities such as stationary cycling or water aerobics to your exercise routine. The key is to come up with a sustainable, enjoyable form of exercise that you’ll do for about 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.