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What type of exercise can I do if I have heart failure?

Linda Rohyans
Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist

Individuals with heart failure should stay active and work with his or her healthcare team in designing an exercise program that is tailored to his or her specific needs. Many times, individuals can be referred into a Cardiac Rehabilitation program. Even if you are not able to walk or perform moderate activity, you can actually perform meaningful exercise while sitting in a chair watching TV! By performing "foot pumps" (pointing toes up towards face and down towards floor), you are able to exercise the big muscles in your legs which can help the blood get back to your heart. Grab a couple of canned items (1-pound or so) and while you're sitting, just hold the cans and move your arms up and down; just do one arm at a time if you get tired.

Stay active! You'll feel better for it!

As long as you know your limits and don't overdo it, you should try to be as active as you can. The best exercise plan is one that is tailored to your current health, habits and interests. Walking, bicycling, golfing and gardening are all examples of daily activities that can help you maintain your strength and feel better.

Stay active every day if you have heart failure. Make sure to talk with your healthcare providers before starting any activity or exercise plan. Don't be discouraged if you're only able to exercise for a short while, or at a slow pace. Even modest amounts of exercise can help you. You may have good days and bad days. Stop and rest if you feel tired or short of breath.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.