If you have a heart condition, or been diagnosed with heart disease, is it safe to exercise?
Truths of Exercise and Heart Disease
“The type of activity, intensity level, and other factors play a role in whether it’s safe to exercise. However, just because you have some sort of cardiovascular condition doesn’t mean that you should be prevented from participating in sports altogether, even higher intensity ones necessarily.”
“There’s benefit to exercising. You just need to find that balance of what’s safe and what may be too much for you.”
“Things have changed in our approach to exercise for individuals with a cardiac condition,” Dr. Caruso says who sees a wide variety of patients and specializes in identifying and treating athletes with underlying heart issues.
“Twenty years ago, patients may have been restricted from running or even jogging and were told: you can only walk. Unfortunately, that led to an increased risk of things like heart attack, stroke, or diabetes because of inactivity,” Dr. Caruso explained.
“Now with more data evidence and research, we’re finding that it’s actually beneficial for individuals who have underlying heart disease, to exercise or to continue on with a level of activity.”
Cardiovascular Benefits of Fitness
While people with underlying heart disease are at increased risk for cardiac arrest when exercising, particularly at high intensity levels or over sustained lengths of time – Dr. Caruso recommends they should talk with a cardiologist about an exercise regimen, activity or even a sport that is both safe and heart healthy for their specific conditions.
For people who are not at high risk for cardiac disease, the American College of Cardiology recommends 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 to 150 minutes a week of vigorous exercise to maintain adequate cardiovascular fitness.
Move more, sit less. Just 20 minutes a day of moderate activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.
Source: American Heart Association, Physical Activity Recommendations for Adults, October 24, 2023
“Everyone is different,” Dr. Caruso says. “But we have the tools to figure out what is right for you.”
Call to schedule your appointment today.