Exercise and activity after a heart attack

After a heart attack, it’s important to begin a regular activity program to help reduce to the chance of developing additional heart problems. Jeff Tyler, MD, a interventional and structural cardiologist at Providence St. Joseph Hospital, explains how to exercise safely after a heart attack.

Jeff Tyler, MD: As an interventional and structural cardiologist, I have the privilege to treat and cure some of the heart’s most life-threatening conditions such heart attacks, heart failure and valvular heart disease through minimally invasive heart procedures. However, after the heart attack is treated or the damaged valve is replaced, the healing process is not complete.

Exercise is critical after one of these life-threatening events to restore a person’s function and quality of life. For people who’ve had a heart attack or recent heart surgery, cardiac rehabilitation offers a means for supervised exercise training to allow people to safely recover and regain their strength. Anyone who’s had a recent heart attack, heart procedure or heart surgery should talk with his or her physician about enrolling in cardiac rehabilitation.

I encourage all people who are looking to start an exercise program to discuss with their primary care physician or cardiologist. While most of my patients do not need additional testing prior to starting an exercise regimen, those with known heart disease or risk factors for heart disease such as a diabetes or kidney disease often benefit from a more comprehensive medical evaluation to ensure they are safe to begin exercising. Additionally, anyone experiencing concerning symptoms such chest pressure or pain, unusual fatigue, shortness of breath, palpitations, or dizziness should talk with his or her doctor before starting an exercise routine.

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