Exercise is safe for individuals with CHF and can be completed successfully with out increasing your chances of complications. Regular exercise improves fitness and quality of life, decreases mortality and lowers rate of hospitalizations. This is accomplished by decreasing breathlessness and fatigue, improving ventricular systolic function and functional capacity, increasing oxygen uptake and improved muscle function and strength. After regular exercise is implemented individuals with CHF may find it easier to complete activities of daily living, such as dressing, grocery shopping and house cleaning. At home (independent) or clinic (medically monitored) based exercise are both safe if some simple guidelines are followed. Individuals should start off slowly, progress gradually, listen to their bodies and work at an intensity that is symptom free.
AEROBIC: 3-5 times per week for 20-40 min at a moderate pace (40-70% of max HR or 4-6 out of 10 on an effort scale). This could be done walking, biking, jogging, swimming the options are as endless as your creativity.
STRENGTH: 2 times per week striving for 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions that include a mix of upper and lower body exercises for a total of 5-6 movements. You want to select a resistance that you can easily complete all 15 repetitions.
FLEXIBILITY: 2-3 times per week of upper and lower body stretches. When stretching you want to hold at the point you feel a gentle stretch you shouldn’t feel any sharp pains while stretching.
If you are looking for community exercise opportunities the Mosaic Primary Care Network offers independent exercise options through our fully subsidized Active Adults Programs at Marlborough Mall, Max Bell Centre and the Genesis Centre. If you have some concerns or have never exercised before and would like medically supervised exercise to get started, Mosaic also runs the Heart Health Program which is open to eligible candidates and requires a referral from physician or other Mosaic health professional. Visit www.mosaicpcn.ca for more information.