Even with risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol, people who enjoy regular physical activity have lower death rates than people who have no risk factors but who aren't physically active. What's more, people with heart disease who are physically fit live longer and have fewer heart attacks than heart patients who aren't physically fit. The facts are clear: Regular physical activity benefits people who have heart disease as well as those who don't.
A regular physical activity program helps:
- Lower blood pressure.
- Increase HDL "good" cholesterol in your blood.
- Improve blood sugar.
- Reduce feelings of stress.
- Control body weight.
- Make you feel good about yourself.
Ask your doctor when you can begin a physical activity program. Your doctor can help you find a program suited to your needs and physical condition and may refer you to a formal cardiac rehabilitation program to help you learn to be active safely. You may also need an exercise stress test before you become active again.
Your doctor can tell you what symptoms to watch for during physical activity. If you have any of these symptoms, be sure to follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
This content was last reviewed January 2015.