Keeping active

Exercise is often recommended for people with a heart condition. If you have cardiomyopathy, your heart can be put under greater pressure to pump blood and provide oxygen to your body.

Why is exercise important? 

Making sure you find the right exercise level that is suitable for you is important. Aerobic exercise (which relies on the heart pumping oxygen to the muscles) can be beneficial for the heart.

Exercise improves blood circulation, strengthens the heart muscle, reduces risks of heart disease (by reducing abnormally high blood pressure) and can reduce some symptoms of heart failure.

 Exercise has many benefits, including:

  • Improving your overall health and fitness levels
  • Helping to control your weight
  • Preventing further health conditions
  • Important for your mental health

How much exercise can I do? 

Everyone experiences their condition and the effect of exercise differently. We recommend that you speak to your Cardiologist or GP before taking on activities.

Generally, we suggest: 

  • Taking on low impact exercise that’s fun.
  • Avoiding moderate, intensive or competitive sports.
  • Avoiding exercise that involves sudden bursts of exertion (such as weightlifting, sprinting).

What should I look out for when I exercise?

When anyone exercises, their heart rate increases to supply the muscles with extra oxygen, and they may become breathless. If you have any of the following symptoms when exercising it is important to stop and seek advice from your GP or cardiologist.

  • You feel chest pain or tightness.
  • You feel dizzy or light-headed.
  • You faint.
  • You are breathless or severely short of breath.
  • You have sudden palpitations (you are aware of a change in your heart rate or rhythm).
  • It takes longer for you to recover from exercise than you think is normal.
  • You are worried or anxious about how exercise might be affecting you.
  • If any of the symptoms you normally experience become worse when you exercise.

Read more detailed information about exercise and tests in our downloadable factsheet below.