Precautions and Contraindications
As you build regular activity into your life, consider the following:
- Wear appropriate clothing and shoes for your chosen activity
- Wait one hour after a light meal to exercise. Do not exercise on an empty or full stomach.
- Avoid activities or exercising outdoors when it is colder than 40 F or warmer than 80 F or on high smog days. In times of extreme temperatures, try to do your chosen activities indoors.
- Always begin and end your activity at a slower pace to warm up and cool down. You can include stretching during your cool down but do not just stop.
- Do not hold your breath when doing any type of physical activity, Breath in your nose and out through your mouth.
- Exercise or do your selected activity at the time of day when you feel most energetic. For most heart failure patients, this is usually in the morning.
- You may feel tired the next day after exercising. This is normal but, if you feel more tired than usual, talk to your doctor and nurse about it.
- Consider being active with a partner. Studies show that people stick to their activity program and enjoy it more when they have a partner.
- Make sure you can carry on a light conversation while you are doing any activity. If you cannot carry on a simple conversation, you are exercising too hard and need to slow down.
Regular activity should not be done when you
- Have more shortness of breath at rest or more symptoms than usual
- Feel exhausted
- Have a fever, infection, or feel ill
- Have chest pain
- Are going through a major change in your medication regiment
Stop exercising if you experience these signs of overexertion that may be due to your heart condition:
- Shortness of breath that prevents you from completing a sentence.
- Shortness of breath that does not get better when you decrease or stop the activity.
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Chest pain or tightness. Pain in your arms, shoulders, neck or jaw.
- Irregular heart rate (pulse).
- Unusual or extreme fatigue.
- Severe sweating.
- Nausea, vomiting.
If you have any of these symptoms while being active, slow down. If the symptoms do not get better, stop the activity and consult with your health care provider.