Can I Exercise After a Mild Heart Attack?

By Western Berks on February 11th, 2016


Can I Exercise After a Mild Heart Attack? - Western Berks Physical Therapy


For most people who have had heart attacks, the answer to this question is “yes”—but before you begin to exercise, you should consult your physician about which limitations you should observe, ranging from how moderate or intense your workouts should be to particular motions you should avoid. In fact, physicians often refer heart attack patients to specialized exercise facilities called cardiac rehabilitation clinics, which have equipment and physical therapists to best meet their needs.

It is common to worry that exercise could further damage your heart, but generally, the reverse is true: Not exercising puts you at greater risk for a second cardiac event. For most people, exercising after a heart attack is beneficial, both physically and emotionally. Proper exercise can

  • help you strengthen—not strain—your cardiac muscles;
  • help you lose weight and reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol level;
  • make you feel you have better control over your own wellness; and
  • make you less likely to experience depression.

Once you have gotten the green light to exercise on your own, Western Berks Physical Therapy can design a program to strengthen your heart. A typical exercise plan might involve 10 minutes of warm-ups and stretches, 20 to 30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week of more intense, whole-body movement (such as swimming, walking or stationary bicycling), and 5 minutes of cooling down. These exercises should be performed at least 3 times a week. As a leading provider of Physical Therapy in Reading Pa and the surrounding areas, we work directly with referring physicians through your entire plan of care.

After a while, we would likely suggest adding resistance training to your regimen. Using weights, resistance bands or exercise machines helps you maintain the muscle tone you have and even increase it. We will minimize the isometric actions of these exercises, because these can influence blood pressure. Exercise also strengthens muscles and bones, so the risk of low-back pain, osteoporosis and the likelihood of falls can decrease. Blood pressure and body-fat percentage will be affected, as well—benefits that affect everyone, not just people who have suffered heart attacks.