For Heart Event Survivors

Exercise: Just the basics

How to plan and start an exercise program

You've probably heard a lot about the benefits of exercise. But there's so much information out there on how to exercise, and how often. Where do you start? Here are some basics to keep in mind—but be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.

A heart-healthy regimen should contain three types of exercise.

  1. Aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up, and includes activities like walking, jogging, swimming or biking. You should be moving fast enough to get your heart beating faster and your breathing heavier. A heart-rate monitor is a great tool to use during cardiovascular exercise.
  2. Strength training includes weight lifting, resistance bands, and even yoga. These exercises build lean body mass, increase your energy level, and can help you burn calories more efficiently.
  3. Stretching before and after exercising helps prevent injury and muscle strain. Tai chi and yoga are also great for flexibility, balance, and a better range of motion.

How often?

To get the most benefit to your heart, try to get moderate exercise most days of the week, starting with small amounts and building up to 30-40 minutes of continuous activity. If you prefer, you can divide it into 10- minute increments throughout the day. There are lots of ways you can work exercise into your daily routine.

Once you get an exercise routine going, be sure to mix it up every so often to stay motivated.

"I'm more tolerant and less hyper about the everyday stuff."
Ellen B., I am ProHeart Community Member