Exercise after a heart attack

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Being more active every day will help you recover and lower your risk of more problems. Talk with your doctor or health professional about how to safely build up your activity.

Start slowly, keep walking and learn about setting goals using the physical activity action plan.

Get help from health professionals

Keep up any physical activity program you started while you were in hospital. You should be able to return to your usual activities a few weeks after your heart attack or other heart problem. Talk to your doctor or cardiac rehabilitation team about when you can start different activities again and how to pace your program. 

Do you have questions about exercise?

We are here to answer them. Call 13 11 12 and talk to one of our qualified heart health professionals. If you need an interpreter, call 131 450 and ask for the Heart Foundation.

Setting goals

Aim to build up to doing at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. You can do this in three lots of 10 minutes each if it’s easier. For example, you could do 10 minutes each of walking, gardening and light housework. 

Build an exercise routine using the exercise action plan.

Get more tips on exercising after a heart attack. 

Start slowly

Walking is a good type of physical activity for people with coronary heart disease because:

  • it is gentle on your body as it is a low-impact activity
  • you can go at your own pace
  • you can walk and talk with other people which can help with motivation and confidence
  • it doesn’t cost anything.

 Consider joining your local Heart Foundation Walking group. This will help you to keep fit and make new friends.

Do regular activity

Regular, moderate-intensity physical activity is good for you, especially if you have coronary heart disease.

It will help you:

  • recover better from a heart attack or other heart problems
  • reduce your risk of more heart problems
  • improve your long-term health
  • feel more confident, happy and relaxed
  • have more energy
  • manage your weight more easily
  • improve your cholesterol
  • lower your blood pressure
  • have stronger bones (and lower your risk of osteoporosis)
  • manage your blood glucose levels if you have diabetes.

Don't give up

You won’t get these benefits all at once, or all of the same benefits. But doing regular physical activity and reducing the amount of sitting time will improve your health – even if you have coronary heart disease.

Discover ways to exercise and tips on staying safe.

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