Coronary Artery Disease Healthy Exercise

Preventing heart disease and heart conditions is extremely important for a person’s health, and there are many things that can be done to increase heart health, including eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.

Regular exercise’s effects include:

  • Decrease in heart disease risk factors: Lowers risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, lowers weight and reduces overall body fat.
  • Improvement of heart health: Helps the heart and cardiovascular system work more effective, reduces risk of death from heart disease, decreases risk of chest discomfort and heart failure.
  • Increase in strength: Improves balance, posture, flexibility, muscle tone, bone and joint health; reduces risk of fractures.
  • Increased feeling of well-being: Increases self-esteem and lessens symptoms of depression and anxiety.

A heart-healthy exercise plan will be tailored for each individual, and activities should be fun, enjoyable and at the fitness level of the particular individual. Safe exercises should be used, and a medical professional should be consulted on what exercises are appropriate for different people based on their overall health, age and any existing conditions.

Exercise should be done regularly for maximum effect, building up to about 30 to 40 minutes per day. For less intensity, exercise can be broken up throughout the day in approximately 10-minute intervals. Aerobic exercise that increases breathing rate and depth and uses large muscle groups is the most effective.

Each heart-healthy workout should include:

  1. Warm-up: Warm-ups help ease people into exercise from rest, should be about five minutes long and can include stretching or the conditioning activity at a slower pace.
  2. Conditioning: This is the main exercise, and can vary in intensity depending on fitness level. Conditioning should be done most days of the week for 30 to 40 minutes, or smaller increments throughout the day adding up to 30 to 40 minutes.
  3. Cool-down: The cool-down phase allows the body to recover from conditioning and should last about five minutes. Cool-down activity can be the conditioning activity at a lower intensity or stretching exercises, much like the warm-up period.

To ease exercise into daily activities, there are a few changes that people can make at home, at the office and even during leisure activities and vacation.

At home, try:

  • doing housework or working in the garden
  • going for a short five- to 10-minute walk before each meal
  • parking farther away at the mall and other shops
  • walking or riding a bike to run errands
  • sitting up or riding a stationary bike while watching television
  • standing up or walking around while talking on the phone.

At work, try:

  • joining a gym near work to facilitate before- and after-work exercise sessions
  • participating in a sports team or rec league at your company, or starting one if none exist
  • standing up while talking on the phone
  • taking the stairs instead of the elevator
  • walking around during breaks and lunch hours
  • walking to coworkers’ offices to speak with them instead of phoning or e-mailing.

On weekends and vacations, try:

  • joining a recreational club
  • organizing sporty activities with a friend or a group
  • planning fun outings that include physical activity, like hiking, biking, kayaking or swimming
  • seeing the sites by walking or biking instead of driving
  • taking dance lessons.

Just a few small changes can make a huge difference for heart health and can help ease people into regular exercise routines.