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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

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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.

About Heart and Vascular Institute

The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine. We strive to provide the most advanced, cutting-edge care for our patients, treating both common and complex conditions. We also offer services that seek to improve the health of our communities, including heart screenings, free clinics, and heart health education. Find an expert near you.