Often, when patients with cardiac disorders ask their doctors for advice on how to rehabilitate their body and maintain good health, one of the first suggestions given is regular exercise. This is key to your heart’s health.
Nonetheless, the advice may not come without its fair share of confusion and questions. Many individuals who are a bit older or who have some physical limitations will be advised to try low-impact exercises such as swimming, bicycling, or walking briskly. This can be misleading at first, as many people think of low-impact exercise as being less beneficial than strenuous alternatives like running or competitive sports. However, this sort of workout actually holds a host of benefits.
1. Less damaging than weight-bearing exercise
Many individuals with cardiac problems struggle with some aspects of traditional weight-bearing exercises such as weightlifting or various team sports. In many cases, this is because these workouts put too much pressure on areas of the body that are injured, overused, or underdeveloped. Low-impact exercises like swimming or water aerobics can offer a safe and healthy alternative to these sorts of sports. While still beneficial to both muscle strength and flexibility, working out in the water puts less strain on the body because gravity has less effect on the body when in water. If you have trouble with weight-bearing exercises, talk to your doctor or personal trainer about which aquatic exercises might be right for you.
2. Better for older individuals
One of the hardest facts to come to terms with about old age is that our bodies simply become frailer. What might be a moderate workout for a 21-year-old man could be nearly impossible for many men in their 60s. Heart conditions tend to be more prevalent among older individuals, which limit what our bodies are capable of doing for exercise. Humana.com reports that individuals who have suffered from ailments like stress fractures or arthritis are better off with low-impact exercise alternatives. This way, these individuals can strengthen their heart without risking the health or comfort of their bones. If you're looking for an easy way to start this sort of routine, try walking progressively longer distances each day at a brisk pace.
3. Less limiting for overweight individuals
Many heart conditions are brought on by lifestyle factors such as an unhealthy diet, which can also affect an individuals body weight. If you are overweight at the time of your diagnosis but need to begin exercising, low-impact routines will allow you to work your way into fitness without overexerting yourself. You can start as slowly as you need to and work towards a weight loss or cardiac health goal. Consult with your doctor, trainer or cardiologist before beginning any fitness routine, particularly if you feel your weight may be an issue.