Physical Activity Guidelines for People with Heart Disease

Physical activity is an important part of life. People who have heart disease may need to modify their physical activity, but can still experience the health benefits, including improved quality of life and decreased heart disease symptoms.

How much physical activity?

For people who have clinically stable heart disease, it is recommended to gradually work to accumulate 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, light gardening, riding a bike, or other similar activities, on most days of the week. For people who have more advanced or severe heart disease, shorter bouts of 10 minutes at a much lower intensity is recommended.

Avoid being inactive for too long.

Try to move and be active throughout the day, according to your abilities. A little can go a long way; try to accumulate physical activity throughout each and every day, regardless of what form it is in.

Have social support.

Find a friend, family member, or group that you can be physically active with. Social support is greatly beneficial and can help to keep you both accountable and motivated.

Enjoy nature but pay attention to the weather.

When the weather is nice, go for a walk during the day and enjoy the nature around you. Take your dog or invite a friend for a companion! Adjust the time and intensity of physical activity during temperature extremes, including high humidity.

Talk to your health care provider.

Talking with your doctor or health care provider can be very beneficial. Together, you can make a plan for what specific types and amount of physical activity are right for you.

Remember that short bouts of physically activity throughout the day or week add up to great benefits. Start with 5 minutes of physical activity and gradually increase over time. Make sure to consult with your health care provider before beginning any type of physical activity.