Heart Disease and Exercise

Q. I

A. Since you were already physically active before your procedure, the answer is “most likely.” But before you start exercising or engaging in sports, be sure to check with your cardiologist to get the go ahead. He or she may have you perform a cardiac stress test, which evaluates how your heart works during exercise and whether it’s getting enough blood flow.

If the doctor gives you the OK, exercise is one of the best things you can do for heart disease, as it can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, increase HDL (good) cholesterol and decrease blood pressure.

Be sure to start each workout with a 5 to 10 minute warm up and end with a cool down. Taking the time to warm up will gradually increase your heart rate while cooling down helps your body transition to a resting state and your heart to get the extra oxygen it needs.

Walking is one of the best exercises for people with heart disease. Whatever exercise you choose, try to stay within 50-75% of your target heart rate. If you ever feel a sense of sudden fatigue, have chest pain or experience shortness of breath, stop exercising immediately.