May 20, 2024


Truth Triumphs

Exercise after a heart attack!

Life after a heart attack can be challenging.

GUEST COLUMN: Dr. N Prabhudev

Bengaluru, May 25: You must adjust to a new way of living. It is good to stay active, but returning to exercise should be a gradual process, to avoid further complications. However, exercise is a valuable resource for maintaining health, particularly for those managing heart conditions.

Exercise improves heart function and increases lung capacity, reducing the chances of heart failure. To improve cardiac health while minimizing risk after a heart attack, a person should exercise at low intensity. Avoid performing physical activity alone. It is much better to have a person nearby who can assist if necessary up to around six weeks or more!.

You may have been a couch potato or you may have been working out regularly before your heart attack. Either way, you might feel unsure about physical activities now that you’re home from the hospital. Here’s something to reassure and motivate you: A recent study found that exercising during the first year after a heart attack can cut your chances of dying by half or more compared to if you stay inactive.
Learn to take your pulse and check your BP.
How Soon Can You Start? Talk with your doctor.

It depends on the extent of heart attack and the effect of therapy and the extent recovery. You may be encouraged to do some gentle stretching and light walking just a few days after your heart attack. It’s important to get moving after a heart attack. It will improve your heart health and help prevent future attacks.

Listen to your body.
If you’re so short of breath that you can’t talk, you’re pushing too hard. Keep yourself hydrated and always take a break if you feel tired, notice palpitations, overheated, or out of breath. If the weather is colder than 40 degrees or warmer than 80 degrees, work out indoors. Do the same on days when the air quality is bad. Extreme heat and cold or smog can stress your heart.

Work up to 3-4 minute walks. Rest for 2 minutes, then go another short distance. Build your way up to 30-45 minutes of walking that’s brisk enough to work your body but still lets you carry on a conversation. Walking is the number one recommended post-heart attack exercise for cardiac rehabilitation. Walking is easy, free and nearly everyone can do it at some level. Most guidelines recommend easing into exercise after a heart attack with a stretch of walking. Add a few minutes every day until you feel comfortable exercising for 30 minutes. This should take a few weeks, so don’t rush. 30 minutes of exercise a day will keep your heart healthy. Build an exercise support team. Avoid overdoing it.

Avoid weight lifting!
Jogging or Running or Swimming
Start with walking initially for a few weeks before you switch over to running or jogging! Build your stamina over several weeks. Too much aerobic exercise after a heart attack can stress your heart and increase your risk of having another heart attack. After a heart attack, it’s important to not get overheated while exercising. It can raise your blood pressure and put stress on the heart. That’s why swimming is a great alternative. You get an aerobic workout and stay cool. Avoid competitive running or swimming.

Gentle yoga is the best style of yoga for anyone looking for a low-key exercise program after a heart attack. You’ll still get your body moving, but you’ll focus on making your muscles longer and more flexible. Plus, you’ll train your mind to wind down, which is great for lowering your blood pressure. Avoid power or Hata yoga.

Warm Up and Cool Down
These steps are helpful with any workouts. But they’re especially important for you because they help protect your heart from stress. Warm up for few minutes to raise your heart rate gradually. You could do that by walking at a slower pace. Then cool down to gently lower your heart rate and body temperature. End with stretching: Your muscles will still be warm, and it’ll improve your flexibility and range of motion.
Watch for Warning Signs
Stop exercising and get medical help right away if you have
• pain or pressure in your chest, arms, neck, jaw, or stomach;
• Feel dizzy, weak, or suddenly tired;
• have nausea or start vomiting;
• are short of breath for more than 10 minutes;
• have a very fast or irregular heartbeat;

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