Exercising After Heart Attack

by Jodee on March 13, 2009

If you have had a heart attack, you may be thinking that what your heart needs is rest. This may be true for the first few days, and your doctor will let you know when it’s safe for you to start being physically active again. Over time, you will want to start including more activities in your routine so that you can strengthen your heart.

Once the doctor tells you that you can start exercising after heart attack, you will want to start slowly. The first step may be to start with some stretching exercises and walking for a short period of time. Before more vigorous exercise is allowed, you will likely be asked to undergo a stress test. During the test, you will be asked to walk on a treadmill while your heart rate is being monitored. The test results will help your doctor develop an exercise plan for you.

Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions

Your doctor will let you know how much exercise you should be doing and how soon after a heart attack it is safe for you to do so. If something isn’t clear, be sure to ask questions. Being physically active will help you to control your weight and may help to reduce your blood pressure as well.

Ask About Resuming Sexual Activity

When you talk to your doctor about exercise, you should also ask how long you will need to abstain from sex. You may be told that you need to wait a few weeks before making love. When the doctor gives you the go-ahead, start off slowly. If you have questions or concerns, ask your doctor about them at your next appointment.

Warning Signs While Exercising

If you experience any of the following signs, you need to contact your doctor immediately:

  • Shortness of breath for several minutes
  • Chest pains
  • Pain in your arm, neck, or jaw
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain or swelling in the legs
  • Cold sweats
  • Pallor


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