- Eating a heart-healthy diet
- Being physically active
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Tracking your daily fluid intake
- Avoiding or limiting alcohol and caffeine
- Quitting smoking
- Getting adequate rest
- Monitoring blood pressure
- Managing stress
- Keeping track of symptoms
- Taking medications as prescribed
- Following up with your doctor
What is heart failure?
Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump blood well as it should. As a chronic and progressive condition, it worsens over time and can damage other organs due to lack of adequate blood supply.
When the heart's pumping ability gets weakened, it can cause:
3 exercises to strengthen your heart after heart failure
Regular exercise can help strengthen your heart after heart failure by improving circulation and promoting blood flow. Exercises that are recommended include:
- Cardio or aerobics: Cardio exercises engage large muscle groups and can improve the way your body uses oxygen. Examples include brisk walking, jogging, riding a bike (outdoor or stationary), jumping rope, cross-country skiing, rowing, and water aerobics. Benefits of cardio include lowering heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and improving breathing.
- Flexibility: Exercises like stretching, yoga, and tai chi involve slow movements that lengthen muscles and improve flexibility. Benefits of this exercise include improved balance, range of motion, and joint mobility.
- Strength training: Strength training with weights or resistance bands involve repetitive muscle movements that tone your muscles and build stronger bones. It is advised not to use weights heavier than 10 pounds.
Tips for exercising after heart failure
After heart failure, any exercise or workout should be done only after your doctor has given you the go ahead. In most cases, doctors recommend waiting for at least 6 weeks before starting an exercise program.
It’s important to take it slowly and make sure you are listening to your body. All exercises should include three phases:
- Warm-up: This should be done for about 5 minutes before starting to prepare your body for your workout. Warming up can reduce stress on your heart muscles and prevent sore muscles. Warm-up exercises include stretching, range-of-motion exercises, and low-intensity movements.
- Conditioning: This phase should include the actual exercise that should be continued for about 20-30 minutes. Conditioning exercises should be done until the recommended heart rate is achieved.
- Cool down: This phase should last about 5 minutes to help your body recover from the conditioning phase and allow your heart rate and blood pressure to return to normal. Decrease the intensity of exercise and repeat some of the stretching exercises during the warm-up phase. Avoid sitting before cooling down. This can make you feel dizzy or have heart palpitations.
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Heart failure (congestive) is caused by many conditions including coronary artery disease, heart attack, cardiomyopathy, and conditions that overwork the heart. Symptoms of heart failure include
- congested lungs,
- fluid and water retention,
- fatigue and weakness, and
- rapid or irregular heartbeats.
There are two types of congestive heart failure, systolic or left-sided heart failure; and diastolic or right-sided heart failure. Treatment, prognosis, and life-expectancy for a person with congestive heart failure depends upon the stage of the disease.
Heart Failure QuizWhat is heart failure? Learn about this dangerous condition, as well as who is at risk, and what to do about it.
Heart Palpitations: 14 Possible Causes and Should You Worry?Heart palpitations are caused by stress, exercise, caffeine, nicotine, hormone changes, fever, medications, low blood sugar, overactive thyroid, heart rhythm problems, alcohol, PVCs, and illegal drugs. Doctors may use tests like an ECG, Holter monitor, event monitor, and electrocardiogram to help diagnose the underlying cause of heart palpitations.
How Long Can You Live With Heart Failure?What is the life expectancy of people with heart failure? Learn about survival rates, determining factors, and lifestyle changes that may help increase your life expectancy.
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Why Are Diuretics Used in Heart Failure?Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart is unable to efficiently pump blood to meet the body’s oxygen and nutrient needs. This leads to excess fluid in the blood that leaks from blood vessels and accumulates in the lungs and other tissues. Diuretics treat this symptom by causing the kidneys to filter out more fluid as urine.