Regular Exercise and Heart Health Can Be Strong Partners
FEBRUARY 28, 2022
By THE CORMEUM TEAM
The Cormeum App Can Help You Stay On Track
Regular exercise has many benefits for our mental and physical health, including the often overlooked potential to help us retain our independence as we age. In addition to the overall benefits of regular physical activity, heart failure patients may see improvement in a number of areas. According to The Cleveland Clinic, a regular activity program may help heart failure patients:
- Reduce heart disease risk factors and the chance of having future heart problems
- Strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system
- Improve circulation and help the body use oxygen better
- Help increase energy levels so you can do more activities without becoming tired or short of breath
Those are powerful motivators to get you started, but as always, it’s essential to speak with your health care providers about what activities and levels of exercise are appropriate for you first. Your medical team will help you set expectations, which can be critical to sticking with your plan over the long haul. (See “3 Questions to Ask Your Health Care Team” at the bottom of this page.)
Getting Active and Staying that Way
Lifestyle changes are difficult. The goal of exercising more frequently takes as much effort (likely more so) than other intentions such as eating healthier or cleaning off that messy desk. For that reason, it’s important to keep in mind why you’re making the commitment and how to take advantage of tools that can help you stay motivated. Here are some tried-and-true tips we’ve found for staying true to your exercise plan.
1. Go short. Starting out just shy of your initial goals, then slowly building up to them can give you the initial sense of accomplishment needed to help you stay with your plan.
2. Track your progress. Exercise apps can automatically capture your daily, weekly and monthly progress and help you stay motivated by reminding you to stay on schedule.
3. Get support. Exercising with a buddy is a good way to stay connected while getting your aerobic exercise.
4. Make it a daily priority. Exercising at the same time of day helps you establish it as “your time” and helps establish your routine as something you look forward to every day.
5. Warm up, work out, wind down, then stretch. Dedicate the first few minutes of your exercise to warming up and winding down. For example, if you are going for a brisk walk, take a few minutes to walk at a normal pace before you speed up. At the end of your workout, slow down your pace to a normal gait for 3–5 minutes, so your heart rate and muscles can recover. It’s also a great idea to gently stretch after your workout.
6. Stay hydrated. Drink water before, during and after your workout.
7. Dress for the weather. Check the forecast before you head outside and make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing and footwear for the conditions.
8. Bring a fully charged phone. Whether you’re using a health app or not, it’s a good idea to have your phone with you whenever you work out. If you need to contact a family member, you’ll be able to do so.
9. Keep it fun. Meeting our health objectives is a goal that can only be reached over time. There will be days when you don’t feel like going for a walk and are thrilled that you did. There are also days when you don’t feel like going for a walk and skip it. That’s o.k. The important thing is to take the long view and be kind to yourself.
Three Questions to Ask Your Health Care Team Before Starting Your Exercise Program
Communicating well with your health care providers is an important part of getting good medical care. The National Institute on Aging suggests asking the following three questions at minimum before starting or resuming any exercise program. In addition, be sure to ask your providers if there are additional factors to consider before you make changes to your daily routine.
1. Are there any exercises or activities I should avoid?
2. Is my preventive care up to date?
3. How does my health condition affect my ability to exercise?
Did You Know?
The Cormeum app lets you track calorie and carbohydrate trends to help you track and maintain your health goals. Learn more about Cormeum’s features.