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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

Overexertion

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.


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