Exercise after a heart attack

A Health Survey for England in 2008 highlighted that ONLY 38% of men and 29% of woman are sufficiently active. Staggeringly only 13% of adults over the age of 65 meet the recommended guidelines.

Each year 146,000 people have a heart attack (myocardial infarction) which costs the NHS a huge £350 billion per year!

Heart attack is caused by a BLOCKAGE in one of the coronary arteries which causes a reduction of blood flow to the heart leading to ISCHAEMIA (shortage of oxygen to an area). This results in  (cell death) if not corrected quickly.

Our hearts are muscles and should be trained much like any other muscle in our body.

Prior to starting your exercise journey following a heart attack (MI) it is advisable to speak to your GP and they will assess you to ensure you are safe to start exercising. This may be a straightforward conversation about your past medical history but it may need some ECG testing or specialised exercise testing dependant upon your medical conditions.

The recommended guidelines of physical activity in normal adults are:

  • 150 minutes of moderate level activity each week OR 75 minutes of vigorous activity
  • 2 strength sessions per week
  • Balance exercises for adults over 65 years old
  • Reduce sedentary time

The benefits of exercise include:

  • Improved sleep
  • Reduced stress levels and improved overall wellbeing
  • Maintains healthy weight
  • Reducing cholesterol and hypertension (high blood pressure)

Physical activity reduces the risk of:

  • Type II diabetes (up to 40%) by improving insulin sensitivity
  • Cardiovascular disease (up to 35%) by improving cardiac function (training the heart as a muscle)
  • Breast and Colon cancer amongst others (20%)
  • Obesity by reducing the fatty tissue in our body
  • Improving strength and mobility therefore reducing back and joint pain (up to 25%)

After training benefits show increased:

  • Blood flow to active muscles
  • Cardiac output and maximum stroke volume
  • Effectiveness of cardiac output distribution




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