Heart Failure and exercise. Unable to... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
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Heart Failure and exercise. Unable to keep to any exercise routine. Suggestions please.


I have had Heart Failure for almost two years and been told to get more exercise. as I'm on 3 furosemide tablets a day. Walking is difficult because of my breathlessness and the sudden weakness of my legs -this causes me to stop frequently

I can’t keep to any form of exercise routine but must try. I’m 80 years old (another problem concerning exercise to consider as most of my muscles seem to have emigrated - I know I had some!) and would be grateful for any suggestions, please, or any advice. I'd like to find a good exercise I can do when I've managed to get home from walk.

19 Replies

you might find this link helpful nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/s...

Thankyou for the link. I've just looked at the exercises and they look like a good place to start until I find my feel (literally) as I still feel a bit wobbly due to low b.p.

You might be able to get your husband to do them with you as they are chair based.... worth a thought as the less you do the less you eventually can do....

Thanks. You are so right but husband really unwell now. All the more reason for me to get stronger. I love group interaction so my hope is that I will be able to join something. I live opposite a gym and pool so I just need to start working my joints and muscles and gradually increase. I will get there!!!¡😑

I do cardio rehab twice a week - it's made a huge difference to me. One lady in the class is 84 and zips around with the rest of us and she puts us to shame by turning up with full make up and looking immaculate. A t the start of the year we were all heart patients but recently we have been joined by COPD sufferers. Apparently they have the class prescribed by their GPs. Wonder if it is worth asking your GP if the gym opposite you runs something similar? When you have done the chair exercises and feel ready to extend yourself i mean. I go to a council run sports centre for the sessions. I found it all very daunting to start with but after a few weeks found everyone to be very friendly. It helps to talk to people who know how you feel and just get out of the house. Everyone works at their own pace and no one ever comments on anyone else.

That is encouraging! I bought some new makeup before I was rushed into hospital in June. It was for my son's wedding. Now I know what to do! I'm going to be another lady with make up😆x

Hello! I'm only 6 months into heart failure and tugging at the ropes to get started doing some exercise. My heart failure nurse has agreed to put me on her list for a class BUT I'm tired just coping with housework and I'm also almost 80 so am I being over optimistic? Any one out there of a similar age who has succeeded please. I've not had a heart attack or blocked arteries but a fast heart with irregular beats and left ventricular failure. Thanks

in reply to Love100cats

I too have heart failure after a heart attack, I live near town so have to walk, at first I was breathless, now I manage the hills quite well. I am thinking of buying a gym type bike for home. I am 84.

in reply to Rosei

Thankyou😊 just what I needed. I knew there would be others within my age range with support and advice. My husband's response to heart failure is just sit in his chair, quite happy but I need to do stuff other than house work which I am struggling with. I need assessing first though to make sure I choose the right sort of exercise for my heart condition. I love swimming but have been warned not to attempt it as the pressure of water might bring on a failure. I've bought a couple of new joggers so I'm ready for something!!!!

Walking is my favorite exercise but my arthritic knee sometimes disagrees. What works for me is a recumbent exercise bike with a supportive seat and back rest. Last spring I could only do 5 minutes, now I can easily do 30 min and I am adding a little resistance. It is boring, so I make sure Im listening to something to distract my brain. I am not an avid exerciser but Im making myself do some form of activity at least 30 min minimally 5 times a week. It is helping me physically and mentally

in reply to Hoski

Could you t ell us more about your exercise bike please? I have severe spinal problems and can't walk or use any of teh machines at rehab so I'm looking for something like that. I had seen some where you sit in a chair and pedal but I felt they might sllip away from you. Because of nerve damage I can't sit on a regular bike seat.

in reply to Qualipop

Look for stationary recumbent exercise bike, most come with large seats with backs. Prices vary her in the states from $100 to a few thousand$. I bought an inexpensive one

in reply to Hoski

Many thanks

You could give Shibashi a try. You don't have to go out, iis very gentle and easy to learn. It takes about 20 minutes. Just follow the video:


"Trust Me I'm A Doctor" found that it gave a good workout without strain or pain.

My tutor says it can be done every day.

I hope you enjoy it.

Have you thought of trying Tai Chi or one of its derivatives which have gentler exercise regimes.

Hi. I find Hatha yoga very good and some simple breathing exercises. This has been shown to be as beneficial to body and soul as line dancing !

Deep yoga breathing helps revitalise your blood. Exercises you lungs and chest muscles. You can also do a series called joint freeing exercises that you gently work through and can be done in a sitting position. Well done for doing what you do!

I have been using handweights, as I'm in a wheelchair, and I think that some exercise is better than none at all, I also use loop resistance bands, just to keep my circulation moving. Im not able to take walks anymore and this is probably what I miss more than anything, but I think we just have to do what we are able to. who would have thought it was possible to be breathless when just sitting, but with heart failure thats just the reality. So I stick to my mantra of anything is better than nothing when it comes to movement, but also it helps with stamina, constant tiredness dogs me every day so I just do what I am able and try not to get upset that I cannot do more. I have to say that not getting upset and frustrated is the hardest thing some days. Best wishes

Another vote for Tai Chi, especially for improving leg strength and balance. Unlike yoga and Pilates which are also great, you don't have to keep getting up and down from the floor.

Check out if your local council organises any classes. In East Herts, the council sponsors Forever Active - several different classes for over 50s.

Also you could join your local U3A, they have a lot of exercise classes and walking groups.

in reply to marypw

I found most of my local classes all had differing prices - no doubt due to venue costs - but also found AgeUK & Rheumatoid Arthritis also organised them. I was quite amazed at the number of classes per week.

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