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Walking is a great way to build up fitness
Before you leave hospital the cardiac rehabilitation nurse, or physiotherapist, will give you advice on when you can resume different types of exercise or activity.
Approximately 10 days after a heart attack most people will be ready to start gentle physical activity again. The key with exercise after a heart attack is to start slowly, do something every day and gradually build up your level of activity.
Doing simple home exercises is a good idea to begin with and allows you to be in complete control. Walking is also easy to fit in and can be built up gradually. Use how you feel to gauge how well you are coping and move things on when you can manage your set tasks easily.
Simple stretching and home exercises are a good idea until your cardiac rehabilitation comes in to play 4 - 6 weeks after your heart attack.
It can be very helpful to keep a daily diary of your home exercises and activities. This will allow you and your doctor / nurse to see your progress. It also prevents you from being tempted to do too much, too soon, and overdoing it.
Get into the habit of making a note of what you have done that day. It may also surprise you to realise how well you are progressing.
Below is an example of a suggested programme, but you must also take into account how you feel. You should only work to the suggested times if you feel comfortable, can talk easily without being short of breath and have no chest pain throughout. The weeks refer to the date you begin, to show you how to progress.
* (About 10 days after a heart attack)
When you start walking you must stop if you feel chest pains or become too breathless to talk. Rest for a few minutes and then start again if you feel better but go more slowly.
Everyone progresses at different rates and everyone has bad days. It all depends on you how much you feel you can do: pace yourself to the rate of your body's recovery.
All gentle exercise and activity will be good for you eventually, but there are a few particular actions, which are still risky for you to try, because they put a sudden and unusual strain on your heart.