Strength Training and Heart Disease
If you think that you can't begin a strength-training program because you have heart
disease, think again. Heart patients who do a strength-training program 3 times a
week build up their aerobic capacity in addition to building strength and flexibility.
Strength training has many benefits. It can help you lose weight and help reduce the
symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, back pain, and depression. It might
even help you sleep better.
Here are some tips on getting started:
Check with your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program. He or she
may have suggestions about what type of program is best for you.
Learn proper technique from a trainer at your local gym, or take a class. Check with
your healthcare provider about participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Look for sturdy athletic shoes with good support
and rubber soles.
Start slowly, and pay attention to how you feel. Expect some stiffness and sore muscles,
but not pain.
Try to schedule your workout for a certain time of day, such as before breakfast or
dinner, so that it becomes part of your routine.
Give your muscles a day of rest in between each strength-training session.
Try working your lower body one day and then your upper body the next day. This way
you won't overwork the same muscles.
Invite a friend or family member to start strength training with you. This will make
exercising more enjoyable and may help keep you motivated.
Pay attention to your symptoms and notice if you become winded or weak. If this occurs,
mention this to your healthcare provider.