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How soon after heart attack can I excercise?

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Old 11-19-2006, 05:19 PM   #1
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How soon after heart attack can I excercise?

It has been 8 days since I had a mild heart attack (at least for now that is what the doctor has called it). My family continues to be right at my side wanting me to take it easy and rest, etc. Almost every afternoon I seem to get really tired and fall asleep for a couple hours. I understand their concern but how "fragile" am I? I have certainly changed my eating habits since this incident but I am wondering when I can actually exercise. I experience some chest tightness and little episodes of pain but I truly think that it is anxiety. Ibuprofen seems to take care of it so I figure that I am safe. Any one have any advice? tmgg

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Old 11-20-2006, 05:34 AM   #2
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Re: How soon after heart attack can I excercise?


I would walk NOW...walk until you get tired and try to do it every day. Monitor your heart rate response. Gradually increase the distance.

Do some light weights so that you don't lose too much muscle goes SO quickly when we are completely sedentary.

Anything you CAN do without too much grief, you SHOULD do. Long ago they found out that the old regimen of 6 weeks in bed after a heart attack was KILLING people. So get up and out.

But first ask your cardiologist what he thinks.

Do you have any other underlying heart disease, did you have an angiogram, are you on any drugs?

Old 11-20-2006, 09:24 AM   #3
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Re: How soon after heart attack can I excercise?

Hi tmgg,

I was 5 days in ICU for congested heart failure (I had had prior MI) and a stent implant. The release instructions stated no heavy lifting, so 5 days was ample for me. I had a lot of energy so it may depend on the individual and how they feel.

Walking is a very good exercise for the heart (at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week) don't exceed a target heart (220 minus your age is good target). For skeletal muscles, stretching and light resistance won't cause any problem. It has been about 3 years and the regimen has served me well.

If you need to lose body weight, and from your post you don't, then there is no need to increase distance walked. Focus on heart rate and increase gradually to a target rate with an increase in pace.

Old 11-20-2006, 09:37 AM   #4
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Re: How soon after heart attack can I excercise?

What helped me the most after my heart attack was joining cardiac rehabilitation. You will have a group of professionals guiding and advising you what to do while your heart and blood pressure are being monitored. Your gradual progress will be assessed and most of the guess work and doubt about what you can and cannot do will be eliminated. Being in a group setting with people who have been through a similar experience as yours will give you the confidence and incentive to do the exercises without wondering whether you are doing the right ones and without being afraid that you are going to hurt yourself. Your first step should be to talk to your cardiologist about starting a cardiac rehab program which is available in most major hospitals. All this information should have been given to you when you were dischaged from the hospital.

You mentioned that you had a "mild" heart attack which implies that not much damage was done to your heart muscle which means you are in good shape to start your recovery and start living a full healthy life. Don't look at what happened as a negative thing but rather as another chance that you were given to start over again and doing it right this time. I know it is a scary experience in the beginning but as millions of people who have suffered a heart attack know, it is not the end of the world and you are not as fragile as you think you are and by doing the right things you will get over this and look back at it as a bump in the road. Many of the people you see on the bike paths or jogging are heart attack survivors who now lead a healthier life and are in better condition than many people who never had a heart attack. The only caveat is that you have to change to a complete new lifestyle and the best way to do that is to educate yourself about your condition.

The best way to start is the internet where you will find tons of information regarding what to do after a heart attack as far as exercise, diet, stress relief, etc. Just google "heart attack recovery" or any other title related to heart attack to get that information. Make a list of any questions that you will come up with after reading and ask your cardiologist about it and work with him/her as a team. In managing heart condition, the patient will have to play a very active role and not just rely on popping pills and undergoing procedures. Good luck.

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