Physiotherapist at Netcare Unitas Hospital
STEPS TO STRENGTHEN YOUR HEART
It is important to get regular exercise when you are a cardiac patient. What better way of exercise is there than a daily walk? Walking is definitely the most underrated form of exercise. You carry your own body weight when you walk, known as a weight-bearing exercise. Walking is an aerobic activity that increases cardiovascular fitness, in other words – it can make your heart muscle stronger as well as assist with the management of blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
It is important to walk at your own pace. Increase your activity slowly. Listen to your body, or should I rather say – listen to your heart. It is a good idea to exercise when you have the most energy. For cardiac patients – this is often in the morning, especially during summer when it is hot. Do not exercise when you are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, nausea or feeling more tired/weak than usual.
If you are a cardiac patient, you should follow the cardiac rehabilitation program supplied by your physiotherapist or biokineticist. This program is customised to help you improve your health and to recover from heart surgery, heart attack or any other heart problems experienced. Know your resting pulse rate as well as a safe exercising pulse rate. If it becomes too high during exercise, slow down.REMEMBER: People that are experiencing heart problems feel better when they stay active.