Heart and Vascular Health Benefits of Exercise on the Heart and Lungs By Heart and Vascular Institute, May 6, 2014 For someone living with pulmonary hypertension (PH) or heart failure, routine exercise can help to regain an important part of your life, including: Lifestyle changes Mental and emotional happiness Maximizing physical potential As with many heart and lung diseases, the less active you are, the less you are able to translate that into energy that allows you to do the things you love. Weak muscles need more oxygen, which can lead to symptoms that hinder your lifestyle. Some may walk, run, or ride their bikes for miles each day, while others may prefer to play with their grandchildren. But, it is critical to remember that while dealing with any sort of heart or lung disease, exercise must come with close and expert supervision. Without proper guidance on your exercise program, people can induce: Shortness of breath, even under mild to moderate exertion Fainting Excess stress to the right side of the heart Other related problems Not surprisingly, the degree of your symptoms can make a big difference in the range of your activity, which can change over time. It is important to work closely with your specialist in determining safe ways you can be active with a heart or lung condition. Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, a monitored program prescribed by a health care provider, can incorporate various exercises, indoor and outdoor, stationary and moving. An effective rehab program will not only give you the foundation and training for your exercise, but it will also teach you valuable techniques, including: Energy conservation Nutrition management Breathing strategies Symptom management Counseling and group support Prior to beginning your exercise program, your physician may request an EKG or exercise stress test to determine the level of activity you can handle in your routine. Sometimes it is easy to overlook your own feeling and judgment. Therefore, if you have heart or lung disease, it is recommended you start exercising with the advice of your physician and in a monitored setting, such as cardiopulmonary rehab, at a slow pace that is comfortable to you, and start to increase the length and intensity as you progress. Heart and lung disease doesn’t need to slow you down and inhibit you from living your life. Starting with simplistic exercises can get you on the way to better health and a more active lifestyle.