Exercise is one of the best things you can do to look after your heart, but it is important to make sure that you are exercising safely. Many people have been inspired to start exercising during the COVID-19 lockdown but rushing into it could put your health at risk, especially if you have a heart condition. Here are our tips on starting to exercise safely so that you can improve your heart health without risking injuries or triggering your symptoms.
Talk to Your Doctor First:
If you have any kind of health problems or you are at risk due to your age or weight, then it is best to talk to a doctor before you begin a new exercise plan. We often recommend physical activity as part of the management plan for cardiovascular disease, but you may need to get your symptoms under control with medication first or to take extra steps to protect your heart as you start exercising.
Choose the Right Activities:
Any kind of exercise can be good for your mental and physical health, but it is important not to push yourself too hard when you are starting out. Jumping into a strenuous activity could increase the chances of injuring yourself and put too much strain on your heart. Walking is often a good way to start exercising as it gets you moving in moderation. Other activities that you can start at a gentle pace include cycling and jogging. It is important to choose an activity that you enjoy as this can help you keep going. You may also want to alternate between different activities to keep it interesting.
During the current COVID-19 lockdown it is also important to choose activities that you can complete while maintaining social distancing. Another factor to consider if you have a heart condition is that it is better to exercise away from sources of air pollution, as it can trigger symptoms for some people. You could do this by exercising indoors or in a green space rather than along a busy road.
Start out doing what feels comfortable for you and then slowly increase the amount and intensity of exercise you do. Even if you’re just walking for a few minutes, you’re still helping your heart and improving your fitness. Exercise is working well when it slightly increases your pulse and breathing rate, but you are still able to talk. Exercise at the right level should never trigger your heart symptoms.
You need to keep exercising in order to continue enjoying the benefits, so it is important to find ways to keep motivated. Sticking to a regular schedule or rewarding yourself for your achievements can help.
Keep Your Heart Condition Under Control:
Exercise can play a key role in managing your heart condition, but it is still essential to follow your doctor’s advice on medication and to get regular check-ups or screening as required. You should also consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about exercising with a heart condition.