Physical exercise is important for patients dealing with heart and vein issues. Keeping the blood flowing is vital to preventing certain conditions, and weight can be a major factor in other health problems.
For elderly patients, or people just getting back on their feet for the first time in a while, exercise is an even bigger deal. These people could be at even more risk of heart or vein issues, and conditions in their lives can make it difficult for them to get the exercise they need.
If you’re in this situation, it’s important that you not only exercise often, but exercise in the right ways. Certain conditions might come with limitations on the kinds of physical activity you’re able to do. This is a process you’ll discuss with your doctor, but here are a few general types of exercises that can be safe and useful for elderly patients or people getting back into physical activity.
Before we get into specific exercises, a few general tips that can be applied to many different kinds of workouts.
- Start slow: Take time to warm up your body, and increase your activity level as the workout goes on.
- Be comfortable: This includes clothing, shoes, and your surroundings. You’ll have more reason to work out if you’re comfortable doing it
- Drink lots of water
- When possible, try to find activities you can do with a friend
Cardio: Also called aerobic exercise, cardio covers many types of moderate exercise meant to get your blood flowing and increase your heart rate. You can decide how intense your cardio workout is, and how long it lasts. A few specific examples of low-impact cardio exercises include:
- Walking: Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour per day is great for many people.
- Biking: Road bikes or mountain bikes are great for people who are in the right shape to use them. Stationary bikes are a great option for people still working to get back on their feet, or people who want to stay inside for weather or other reasons.
- Water aerobics: A great low-impact way to stay on your feet – indoor pools are perfect for cold months, where outdoor ones are nice during the summer.
Strength Training: If your doctor approves a higher intensity workout, strength training is another great way to stay active. This can mean weights, but it doesn’t have to – there are plenty of ways to strength train using your body’s own weight or a simple resistance band. Even for people who have been approved to strength train, be sure to space out workouts and do no more than a few per week. Your body needs time to recover.
Stretching: Stretching is good for the warm up portion of any workout, but stretches can also be a light workout on their own. You can do the same stretches as you would for a standard workout on days when you aren’t doing your normal routine, as a great way to keep the blood flowing without putting too much strain on yourself. Yoga is also a great way to exercise.
Physical Therapy: Some people need help exercising on their own, whether it’s motivation or actual, physical assistance. A physical therapist can be a great resource. He or she will help you pick the right workouts and be there with you as you complete them. Some people can start out with a physical therapist, and gain enough confidence to keep going with an exercise program on their own afterward.
For recommendations of physical therapists or exercise resources, don’t hesitate to contact us at Heart of Dixie Vein & Vascular Center. Our friendly, professional staff is here to assist you.
Exercise for a Healthy Heart. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/exercise-healthy-heart#1
Physical Activity in Older Americans. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Physical-Activity-in-Older-Americans_UCM_308039_Article.jsp#