Staying active to help your heart
Your heart needs exercise to help it work. Aerobic activities, such as walking, help exercise the heart. When you stay active, you may also feel less tired and have fewer symptoms. And staying active can help you feel better about yourself and your health.
Tips for keeping active
Stay as active as feels comfortable. Continue day-to-day activities as long as you don't feel tired or short of breath. Try these tips:
- Plan activities like a walk around the block. If the weather is bad, try walking around an indoor shopping mall instead. Light gardening and swimming are other options that may work for you. Talk to your health-care provider about safe choices.
- Stop and rest if you feel tired or short of breath.
- Pace yourself. If you can't hold a conversation during an activity, you're pushing yourself too hard.
- Know your limits. You'll likely have good days and bad days. Your health-care provider can help you develop activity guidelines or even an exercise program that works for you.
Signs of overexertion
Stop exercising and call your doctor if you feel any of these symptoms:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Burning, tightness, heaviness or pressure in your chest
- Unusual aching in your arm, shoulders, neck, jaw or back
- Trouble catching your breath
- A racing or skipping heart
- Extreme tiredness (especially after exercise)
- Lightheadedness, dizziness or nausea
Cardiac rehab programs
Cardiac rehab is a supervised, personal exercise program to improve your heart's health. These programs often take place at the hospital or at another medical center. Ask your health-care provider about programs right for you. During cardiac rehab:
- You may walk on a treadmill as a basic form of exercise. Some programs also use equipment, such as stationary bikes, arm cranks and light weights. You will be shown how to use these so they help the most.
- Your heart rate and blood pressure will be watched closely as you exercise. This helps you and your doctor know how much activity is safe for your heart. You might be surprised at how much you can do!
To learn more about cardiac services at Baptist Health Paducah, including the Baptist Heart Center, phone Baptist Health Line at (270) 575-2918. If you are experiencing chest pain, speak to one of our cardiac nurses at the award-winning Chest Pain Hotline, 1-800-575-1911.
For a schedule of upcoming Understanding Heart Failure classes, click here.