Start your exercise program slowly. Choose an exercise you enjoy, such as walking, riding a stationary bike, swimming or gardening. If you can tolerate exercise, slowly increase what you are doing by adding one minute each day.
Use the following general exercise guidelines:
If you can, you may want to do two or three different types of exercise each week for variety.
You may find yourself short of breath while you are exercising. Some of this is normal. You can rate your level of breathlessness on this scale:
You should stay within the first two on the scale. If you reach the third, you should cool down or stop if you need to catch your breath.
You always need to be aware of the way your body responds to what you are doing. This will tell you if you are working at a level that is good for you. The following signs mean your body is not dealing well with exercise:
If you have any of these symptoms, stop what you are doing and rest. If they do not go away after rest, or if they continue to limit your activity, call your health care provider.
If these symptoms are severe, call 911 and use your nitroglycerin as directed.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Failure, fifth edition, 1-931876-20-7
Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts
If you skip more than two days of exercise, restart your program at a lower level and slowly increase again.
Check with your health care provider to see if any of your heart medicine could have an effect on your heart rate.