Strength Training and Heart Disease

If you think that you can't start a strength-training program because you have heart disease, think again. Heart patients who do a strength-training program may build up their aerobic capacity in addition to building strength and flexibility.

Strength training has many benefits. It can help you lose weight and help reduce the symptoms of arthritis, osteoporosis, back pain, and depression. It might even help you sleep better.

Always check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. They may have suggestions about what type of program is best for you. Depending on the severity of your heart disease, your provider may have certain restrictions on the type or intensity of exercises you do. You might qualify for a cardiac rehabilitation program.

Here are some tips on getting started:

  • Learn the correct method from a trainer at your local gym or take a class. Check with your healthcare provider about participating in a cardiac rehab program.

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Look for sturdy athletic shoes with good support and rubber soles.

  • Start slowly and pay attention to how you feel. Expect some stiffness and sore muscles, but not pain.

  • Try to schedule your workout for a certain time of day, such as before breakfast or dinner, so that it becomes part of your routine.

  • Give your muscles a day of rest in between each strength-training session.

  • Try working your lower body one day and then your upper body the next day. This way you won't overwork the same muscles.

  • Invite a friend or family member to start strength training with you. This will make exercising more enjoyable and may help keep you motivated.

  • Pay attention to your symptoms and notice if you become winded or weak. If this occurs, tell your healthcare provider.

Online Medical Reviewer: Ronald Karlin MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Steven Kang MD
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2023
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