Exercise and healthy lifestyle help reduce deaths in heart patients.

Source: Dr. Christina May Moran de Brito, Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Service of Hospital Sírio-Libanês

Published on 02/24/2016

​​Doing physical activity is in almost all medical recommendations for those looking to have a healthier heart. The team at the Hospital Sírio-Libanês Rehabilitation Service has prepared a list of various benefits that can be obtained by patients with heart disease from practicing sports. It is important to emphasize that prior medical evaluation and guidance are essential. The assessment will determine the level of monitoring and supervision required to carry out the exercises. And since, in this case, the exercise will act as a medicine, the prescription must be broken down by modality (specificity), dosage (intensity), frequency, and duration. As for supervision, depending on the individual’s condition and the needs identified in the medical evaluation,

Here are the main therapeutic benefits and how to do the exercises correctly:

Benefits for heart disease

  • Decrease in heart rate and blood pressure at rest.
  • Increased levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL) and decreased levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL).
  • Improvement in cardiorespiratory capacity.
  • Decrease in total body fat and decrease in visceral fat (the most harmful to the heart).
  • Decrease in blood glucose levels (glycemia).
  • Increase in the number of blood vessels inactive muscles.
  • Reduced mortality by 20% to 35% when accompanied by a healthier lifestyle.
  • Improves muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Improved self-esteem.
  • Contribution to the feeling of well-being.
  • Decreased desire to smoke and drink.
  • Reduced bone loss.
  • Improved sleep.
  • Contribution to improving the quality of life and social life.
  • Contribution to improved sexual performance.
  • Reduced chances of new admissions.
  • Reduction of death from cardiovascular disease and coronary artery disease.

What kind of physical activity can be done daily?

The most recommended exercises are stationary bicycle (best horizontal, with lumbar support) and walking on the floor or a treadmill, without incline (the flat). Please choose the most convenient one, remembering that walking is a good exercise for everyone, as it is a movement that we will use throughout our lives.

Instructions for starting your activities:

Time: Choose a time when you are normally not tired. Preferably, perform the exercises always at the same time become a habit. When you keep a fixed schedule, the body adapts better.

Clothing: wear light, loose-fitting, cotton clothing. Avoid synthetic fabrics. Shoes should be snug and soft. In cold weather, wear a cotton jacket. The watch is important for measuring the duration of the walking session.

Location: give preference to safe places, without the risk of assault or being run over, and with less pollution. Avoid places with many slopes or slopes.

Warming Up: Before starting your walk, walk normally for five to ten minutes to warm up.

Frequency and duration: the current recommendation is to perform 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, distributed on most days of the week. So you can split doing 30 minutes five times a week.

Intensity: Moderate intensity means physical work that generates an increased heart rate but does not impair the ability to carry on a conversation during the activity. You can start lasting 10 to 15 minutes every other day. Each week, add five to ten minutes to the total duration until you reach 150 minutes per week.

How can you control the proper and safe intensity of your physical activity?

The intensity will be based on the training heart rate established by your doctor or health care professional or the perceived exertion scale (Borg—see below), which should remain between 12 and 14, or on a walking intensity and power. To speak.

Important: Learn to measure your heart rate and get used to measuring it before, during, and right after exercise.

  • On the wrist: Place the index and middle fingers flat on the inside of the wrist, just below the base of the thumb. Press firmly with your fingers straight until you feel a pulse.
  • On the neck: Place your index and middle fingers on the soft side of the neck. Press firmly until you feel the pulse.

When finding the pulse:

  • Count for 10 seconds and multiply by 6;
  • or count for 15 seconds and multiply by 4;
  • or count for 30 seconds and multiply by 2;
  • or count for a minute.

The result is the number of beats per minute.

Subjective Perception of Effort Scale (Borg Scale)

normal symptoms during physical activity

  • Mild to moderate shortness of breath.
  • Sweating.
  • Feeling hot or exhausted in the legs.
  • Mild muscle or joint pain.

abnormal symptoms

  • Chest pain.
  • Intense and cold sweating.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Vertigo or dizziness.
  • Severe or prolonged respiratory discomfort.
  • Severe joint pain.
  • Severe headache.

Important: in the face of any of these abnormal symptoms, always see your doctor.

Patients who do not need supervision will receive guidance on their physical condition and prescription and guidance for exercise. Nutritional adjustments may also be necessary for this population. In these cases, the individual will additionally undergo nutritional assessment and follow-up.

Additional supports that may be needed, such as psychotherapy for mood disorders, are also available.

For more information, please contact:

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