The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) released guidelines for sports and physical activity for individuals with heart disease in 2020. These guidelines, published in the European Heart Journal (Ref. Link), aim to promote exercise as a preventative measure for heart disease and as a means of reducing premature death in those with established heart disease.
The ESC recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise for individuals with heart disease, as well as strength-building exercise for those who are obese or have high blood pressure or diabetes. The guidelines also caution that individuals with advanced heart disease or those who are completely inactive should consult their doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. The study includes this diagram that features sporting disciplines in relation to the predominant components (skill, power, mixed, and endurance) and intensity of exercise.
Walking is a great way to start an exercise program for many people. A walking program can include a variety of different locations such as a hallway, driveway, mall, or a block. Start with a short duration of 10 minutes, and remember to begin slowly and easily. It may be necessary to plan for rest areas or places to sit along the way. The below program can also be applied to other forms of exercise such as biking, stationary biking, water walking and swimming.
Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and low-impact aerobics are typically safe for individuals with heart disease. It’s important to consult your doctor to determine what types of exercise are best for you and what modifications may be necessary.
Individuals with heart disease should aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. It’s also recommended to include strength-building exercises at least two days a week.
Exercising at the right intensity means that you are able to talk while exercising, but not sing. A good way to gauge your intensity level is to use the “talk test.” If you can hold a conversation while exercising, you’re probably working at a moderate intensity.
If you experience chest pain or other symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, or palpitations during exercise, it’s important to stop immediately and seek medical attention.
The safety of participating in competitive sports depends on the type and severity of heart disease. It’s important to consult with your doctor to determine if competitive sports are appropriate for you and what modifications may be necessary. Individuals with advanced heart disease or those who are completely inactive should consult their doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.
Other Heart Health Topics To Explore:
Healthy Heart Exercise | Arrhythmia Symptoms | Reasons for Heart Palpitations | Heart Rate Zones | Low Resting Heart Rate | Signs of Heart Attack | Stress Test for Heart | Arrhythmia Causes | Low Carb Diet | Heart Rate Monitor