When engaging in physical activity, it is worth considering general safety principles.
First, make sure that the chosen physical activity is safe for almost everyone. In other words, it does not require special preparation or training.
Second, choose the right type and amount of physical activity – it should be appropriate for your level of fitness. Don’t set records right away.
Third, increase physical activity gradually: start with activities of relatively moderate intensity and avoid heavy loads (such as running). Give your body a chance to get used to moderate physical activity: first, increase the duration of each workout in minutes and the number of days per week, and then the intensity.
Fourth, pay attention to weekly increases in physical activity. For example, a weekly increase of 20 minutes is considered safe for someone who jogs for 200 minutes a week-the equivalent of a 10% increase. The same 20 minutes would not be safe for someone with 40 minutes of baseline activity.
During your workout, periodically count your heart rate and try to keep your heart rate (HR) between 50 and 85% of your maximum HR. Your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. For example, if you are 45 years old, your maximum heart rate is 220 – 45, which is 175 beats per minute.
At the beginning of training and for the first few weeks of training, your heart rate should be 50% of your maximum, then gradually increase it to 75% of your maximum, and after six months or more you can increase it to 85%.
Observe basic precautions.
For example, in hot and humid weather, to reduce the strain on your heart and the risk of dehydration (excessive loss of fluids from the body), exercise in the morning rather than in the midday heat, prioritize indoor exercise, change your activity (for example, swimming instead of playing soccer), reduce the intensity of physical activity (walking instead of running), take enough time to rest, spend more time in the shade, drink more fluids, and seek other ways to minimize exposure to the heat.
Learn about possible interventions for cardiovascular disease
Contrary to popular belief, not only is physical activity not contraindicated for people with cardiovascular disease, it is highly desirable.
For example, experts believe that for patients with angina (chest pain), physical exercise is acceptable even at high risk of complications – provided that the load is below the threshold of an attack of angina and ischemic changes. Of the restrictions – only the recommendation not to engage in competitive sports (except golf). For patients with angina, moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (e.g. brisk walking) of 30 to 60 minutes more than five days per week is recommended. Even irregular physical activity can be beneficial, reducing the risk of death.
For people who have had a myocardial infarction, physical activity is essential: an early return to rehabilitative physical activity is necessary as early as 8 to 12 weeks after the event. To select the optimal physical activity, a risk assessment should be made based on the patient’s physical activity level in the patient’s history and the results of stress tests. In general, the target moderate-intensity physical activity for this population is 30 minutes seven days per week (at least five days per week). Moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity of 30-60 minutes is recommended, preferably daily. The 30-60 minutes of daily physical activity can be divided into two to three approaches. Daily walking is recommended immediately after discharge.
In patients with chronic heart failure, physical activity should begin with a short phase of 10-minute endurance exercises and 10 minutes of weight-bearing exercises (e.g., with dumbbells). These exercises should be gradually increased over four months to 30-45 minutes three or more times a week. Depending on symptomatology and functional capacity, the duration of vigorous exercise may be longer.
There are also some limitations: for example, swimming is not recommended for patients with chronic heart failure, and low- and moderate-intensity activity is recommended for people with a reduced ejection fraction. High-intensity exercise is possible for low-risk patients.