HomeFitness TipsPhysical Activity After A Heart Attack

Physical Activity After A Heart Attack

Relationship Between Heart Attack And Physical Activity

If you’ve had a heart attack or other heart problem, you may be afraid to resume physical activity and think it’s best to give up movement. Physical activity is perfect for your heart and can reduce your risk of having another event.

The benefits of physical activity have been known since the mid-1950s when a group of English scholars demonstrated that the categories of workers who did more physical activity (for example, mail carriers assigned to deliver mail at home) had a lower risk of myocardial infarction and posted myocardial infarction death compared to those who carried out a sedentary job (for example the mail carriers working at the counter). Read on to learn when and how you can restart your workout.

Why Is Physical Activity Good For Health?

The benefits of physical activity are due to several factors.

In particular, physical activity:

  1. It has direct beneficial actions on the cardiovascular system and reduces high blood pressure ;
  2. improves metabolism, promotes weight loss, reduces sugar intolerance and high blood cholesterol levels, and prevents type 2 diabetes mellitus ;
  3. It modifies body composition, reducing fat and redistributing it favorably, decreasing the risk of ischemic cerebrovascular events. Click here to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) for free and know your lean and fat mass percentage.
  4. Improves hormonal profile, neuromuscular tone, and mood, depression being one of the risk factors for ischemic cerebrovascular events.

The connection between physical activity, risk of disease, and death are so strong that the World Health Organization launched 2013 a global plan for physical activity.

Can You Exercise If You Have A Heart Problem?

After having a heart problem, it is customary to be afraid to exercise and participate in physical activity or sports. However, you must not let the fear of having another cardiac event take over you!

  1. Remember that maintaining a good level of physical activity is essential for your heart and your health, even after a cardiac event.
  2. In 2018, a study of over 22,000 patients showed that those who become more physically active after a heart problem have up to a 59% lower risk of death at four years.

So yes, you can and should resume physical activity after having a heart problem.

Post-Heart Attack Physical Activity: A Practical Guide

Even if you can start moving again, you still need to be careful not to overdo it and push too hard.

  1. The best place to resume physical activity after a heart attack is cardiac rehabilitation. The programs include a personalized exercise prescription. The cardiologist will then direct you toward the best cardiac rehabilitation program, and, in any case, you can always ask your doctor for advice.

What do you have to do? Take your time, don’t rush, and don’t set unrealistic goals. Remember that each person recovers at different times and in different ways. How long you recover depends on how active you were before the cardiac event and how much damage your heart suffered.

You can resume physical activity slowly and gradually, for example:

  1. Start over at home. Start with small household chores (changing a light bulb, tightening a water hose, etc.), then move on to outdoor activities like gardening.
  2. Start walking. Go for a walk outside the house; slowly increase your walking pace. Maintain a brisk pace for three minutes until your activity transitions from mild to moderate. Being out of breath is normal, but if you feel too out of breath (so much so that you cannot speak or sing along), reduce your walking pace or, if you are having difficulty, stop. After exercising, gradually stop walking, take at least three minutes to reduce your stride speed, and return to an average pace. For the first few times, try to stay within reach of your home, so it will be manageable for you to return.
  3. Set a realistic goal. You can walk at a moderate speed for about ten minutes a day. Increase your walk by a minute or two each day. The goal is to achieve thirty minutes a day of moderate-intensity walking (brisk pace) for at least three days a week.
  4. Stay in the company. The first few times you go for a walk, take someone with you: your wife or husband, your children or your grandchildren, or organize yourself with a small group of friends. Exercising together can lift your spirits.
  5. Be constant. Consistency is vital in training! It’s not only important how much physical activity you do, but also how often you do it. 
  6. Consider the side effects of your medications. After a heart problem, various factors can affect your ability to return to exercise properly, including the medicines you take. Do not rush!

Maintain A Moderate Intensity

The most effective post-heart attack physical activity should be of moderate intensity, but how do you know that you are practicing moderate-intensity exercise?

There are two methods :

  1. Check your heart rate. Beats per minute equal to 64%-76% of your peak heart rate for your age equates to moderate intensity. Peak heart rate for the period is calculated by subtracting your age from 220 and multiplying by 0.7 (e.g., if you are 70, your heart rate will be 105). This method is only good if you’re not taking medications like beta blockers, which keep your heart rate down.
  2. Take the talk test. Slowly increase your speed (or load) as you walk until talking or humming becomes too difficult. Reduce the rate until you can speak again while exercising; this will be your moderate intensity.

Recommended Sports For Heart Patients

The best sports for those who have had or have a heart problem fall into aerobic physical activity. Examples:

  1. walking or treadmill
  2. running or jogging
  3. cycling or stationary bike
  4. I swim
  5. cross country skiing

The aerobic activity must be alternated with anaerobic or resistance training, to be performed at least twice a week to improve muscle mass and strength (e.g., weight lifting, fast running, heavy athletics). For each muscle group, eight to twelve repetitions of exercises are recommended, with a recovery of about two minutes between sets, using such a weight that the final repetition can be performed correctly, but another repetition is impossible.

  1. Remember to always consult your doctor before starting physical activity: he will advise you on which and how much physical activity you can do based on the type of heart problem you have had and your current state of health.
  2. The supervision of an expert in Sports Science is recommended while performing the exercises so that he can guide you toward the correct execution.

How To Improve Your Muscle Mass

To have strong and toned muscles, in addition to constant training, you must follow a balanced diet and, above all, take the right amount of protein, especially branched-chain amino acids. The latter has a critical function: they accelerate the repair of muscle micro-lesions produced by exercise (commonly but erroneously called ” lactic acid “), stimulate the increase in muscle mass, slow down muscle aging and reduce mental fogging from fatigue. Grana Padano DOP is a food with reasonable quantities of branched-chain amino acids. This cheese is naturally free from milk sugar.

Therefore, it can be consumed in peace – in the right amounts and frequencies – by lactose intolerant people; moreover, among commonly consumed cheeses, it provides the most significant quantity of calcium, an essential mineral for bone health. Grana Padano DOP contains many proteins of high biological value (including the nine essential and branched amino acids already mentioned, such as valine, isoleucine, and leucine ), but also vitamins B2 and B12, vitamin A, and antioxidant minerals such as zinc and selenium.

Also Read: Eating A Lot In The Evening Is Bad For The Heart


Latest Articles