After a heart attack, your heart may no longer be powerful enough to pump blood throughout your body as well as before. If you get help within an hour after a heart attack, then the health consequences will be minimized and you will probably be able to return to your original daily activities. Nevertheless, you should consider a heart attack as a warning that if you do not make certain changes in your lifestyle, you are in danger of another such event. According to researchers, exercise and physical activity are one of the most important factors influencing the risk of heart disease.  X Trusted Source PubMed Central Go to source Experts also found that people who trained regularly after a heart attack had better prospects, were less hospitalized, and did not have another heart attack the following year.  X Research source
Get ready for practice
Talk to your doctor. Before starting an exercise program, make sure you have the permission of your doctor. If your heart is damaged by a lack of oxygen, then it will take several weeks for its treatment and return to its original function. Before being released from the hospital, you may need to undergo a stress test, which will provide your doctor with better conditions to assess how much physical activity you can handle. Generally speaking, there is no limit or time period to ensure that you are ready to exercise. Your doctor will decide when you can exercise again based on your current condition, the extent of heart damage and the physical condition before the heart attack.
Your doctor will advise you not to strain your heart through exercise and sex and wait for it to fully recover from a heart attack.
Realize the importance of exercise. Exercise will help strengthen your heart muscle, increase oxygen efficiency, lower blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of diabetes, help manage stress and lower cholesterol. In addition, all these factors will significantly reduce the risk of another heart attack. Start rehabilitation exercises with some aerobic or cardiovascular activity.
Anaerobic exercise is exercise that is intense enough to cause the production of lactate, which can accumulate in your heart. Anaerobic training is used primarily to gain strength, speed and performance in endurance sports. You should definitely avoid this after a heart attack.
There is a point or threshold at which activity shifts from aerobic to anaerobic. Endurance athletes try to push this limit as high as possible so that they can achieve better performance and more intense activity without producing lactate.
If you have the opportunity, start with a rehabilitation program for cardiac patients. Each patient recovers from the infarct to a different extent. The rate of recovery is affected by the amount of heart muscle tissue that was damaged by the heart attack and the condition you had before the disease. During cardiovascular rehabilitation, the therapist will monitor your program with electrocardiograms and blood pressure measurements to prevent injury. Once you complete the six- to twelve-week cardiac rehabilitation program, you will be released home to continue exercising.
People involved in a cardiac rehabilitation program based on a doctor’s recommendation have better long-term prospects and recover faster. Despite this, such a rehabilitation program is prescribed on average by only about 20% of the total number of patients after a heart attack. The numbers are even lower for women and elderly patients.
Learn how to measure your heart rate. Measure your heart rate on your wrist, not your neck. You could accidentally block the carotid artery when measuring. Place the first two fingers of one hand (not the thumb that has its own heartbeat) on the wrist of the other hand, just below the thumb. You should now feel a pulse. Over the next ten seconds, count the number of beats and then multiply the result by six.
You will need to keep records of how fast your heart is beating so that you can keep your heart rate at the rate recommended by your doctor.
This frequency will vary depending on your age, weight, condition and also the extent of the heart tissue damage.
Talk to your doctor about sex. We can count sex as one of the forms of exercise. You can often hear that you should wait at least two to three weeks after a heart attack. Again, this time may vary depending on the extent of your heart damage and the results of the stress test.
Your doctor may decide that you have to wait longer than the aforementioned three weeks for sex.
Stretch before exercising. With your doctor’s permission, you can start stretching in the hospital. Try to stretch at least once a day to prepare your body for exercise. Remember to breathe and relax regularly during each stretching exercise. Keep the joints slightly bent and never fully stretch them when stretching. This will prevent injuries. You should also not tense your muscles too quickly. Instead, stretch smoothly and always last 10-30 seconds. Repeat each exercise three to four times.
Stretching will not increase muscle strength or heart performance, but will improve your flexibility, which will then make it easier for you to perform all kinds of exercises, improve your balance and relieve muscle tension.
Start the exercise program by walking. Whether you ran marathons before the heart attack or rolled on the couch, your new post-heart attack exercise program should start with a walk. Warm up by walking for three minutes. Then work your way up to a pace at which you will breathe harder than when you are sitting, but you will still be able to talk and manage to converse. Continue at this pace for about five minutes. Add two minutes to your workout each day until you reach a total of 30 minutes of walking a day.
Go with a partner for the first few weeks and stay close to home in case you feel sick or can’t breathe. Carry a mobile phone with which you can possibly call for help from home or call the emergency number.
Don’t forget to cool down after each workout.
Be careful when increasing the load. Avoid strenuous activity for the first four to six weeks after a heart attack. The heart needs an average of some six weeks to recover, and only if you want to do light to moderate exercise and you are in good condition before the heart attack. Avoid the following: lifting or pulling heavy objects, vacuuming, brushing, wiping, running, mowing the grass and any sudden throws. For example, you can start walking on a flat surface for a few minutes at a time, cooking, washing dishes, shopping, light gardening and easy housework.
Increase the length of the training and its intensity gradually without going into the anaerobic stage.
Expect your arm and leg muscles to ache for the first few hours and days after training. However , you should not feel any pain during exercise.
Increase the intensity of the exercise gradually. Just like when you started exercising before a heart attack, you now need to increase the overall length and intensity of the exercise gradually. This will reduce the risk of injury and keep you motivated. Do not increase the length or load of the training until your doctor allows you to walk for more than 30 minutes a day. Depending on the degree of damage to your heart and previous condition, it can take up to twelve weeks before you can comfortably walk 30 minutes briskly.
Once you have easily mastered 30 minutes of brisk walking a day, you can start including other types of exercise, such as cycling, hiking, rowing, jogging or tennis.
Talk to your doctor before starting strength training. It is highly unlikely that your doctor will train you with weights immediately upon discharge from the hospital. In addition, he will not speak to you for the next six to twelve weeks to give you such permission, so ask him about the strength training program yourself. In the comfort of your home, you can use hand weights or training tires, which you can easily attach to the door, for example, and use their resistance. You can use them both to train your arms and to train your legs, but over time you can increase the resistance of the rubber and the energy expended. Give your muscles time for the necessary regeneration between workouts, so don’t do strength training more than three times a week with breaks of at least 48 hours.
In addition, strength training will increase your chances of being able to return to the activities you originally started, such as mowing the grass, playing games with grandchildren, transferring purchases, etc. In addition, strength training will reduce the potential risk of various damages stemming from prolonged inactivity and muscle failure.
Do not hold your breath when lifting weights or exercising with special training rubbers. This would increase the pressure in your chest and put an excessive strain on your heart.
Stay active during the day. After training, do not stay in the chair for the rest of the day. Research has shown that even with one hour of training a day, you will waste all its positive effects if you stay motionless for television for the next eight hours. Instead, you should split the day and try to stretch or move every 30 minutes. Take a glass of water, go to the toilet, stretch or just walk for five minutes. You can also get the necessary movement, for example, this:
Do not sit down while on the phone, but walk or at least stand still.
Place a glass of water on the other side of the room so that you have to walk for it every time you get thirsty.
Reorganize your home so that it forces you to get up at any time during the day.
Heed the warning signs
Notice the sign that your heart is working too hard. If you experience chest pain, nausea, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, or difficulty breathing, stop immediately. Exercise can be too strenuous for your heart. If your symptoms do not go away quickly, call a doctor or the emergency number. If you have a prescribed nitroglycerin, keep it with you at all times. In addition, you should record the symptoms you experience, as well as the time they occurred, the time you last ate, how long the symptoms lasted and how often they occurred.
You should talk to your doctor before continuing. Your doctor may require another exercise test before letting you start exercising again.
Prevent injuries and various accidents. Wear clothes and shoes suitable for the type of activity you are going to perform. Follow a proper drinking regimen during exercise and make sure that someone knows where you are or where you are going at all times. Be very vigilant at all costs, think sensibly and do not try to push your limits.
It is better to continue exercising with a lighter intensity than you are likely to be able to do than to spend the next few weeks being taken out of hospital with a recurrent cardiovascular event or other injury.
Avoid exercising when it is too hot or cold outside. In very cold weather, your body has to work harder to get oxygen to all the cells and the heart. Do not exercise outdoors if temperatures rise above 30 ° with humidity above 80% or if they fall below 2 ° C.