It’s official; fall has arrived in Canada. Across the Lower Mainland, colder fronts are already creeping in, and in Albertan cities like Calgary, record-breaking levels of snowfall have left residents stunned.
Needless to say, it’s imperative to take caution when undertaking daily tasks in colder weather as risks are higher and extreme cold can put our hearts under a substantial amount of stress.
As the days grow shorter and temperatures continue to drop, it’s easy to feel more inclined to stay indoors. But this doesn’t mean you have to forgo regular activity that keeps your body moving. After all, exercise boosts feel-good endorphins, adding to your overall quality of life, while also improving circulation and strengthening your heart muscle.
It’s common for anyone living with heart failure to feel tired, and little things like climbing the stairs or walking around the grocery store can sometimes feel exhausting. This happens because the heart is struggling to pump blood efficiently, and the flow of oxygen-rich blood is reduced. However, when heart failure is managed well, patients can continue to stay active.
Here are our top five tips to help you get started and continue to stay exercising during fall.
Explore your options
There are a plethora of ways to exercise and protect your heart at the same time. Be that as it may, no two cases of heart failure are the same and what works for another individual might not suit you. Keep It Pumping explains that regular to moderate exercise such as walking, jogging, and chair yoga is recommended for those with heart failure. When you make movement a priority, it helps daily activities flow a little easier as the body needs less energy to carry them out.
Workout with a friend
Summoning the motivation to exercise is something that almost everyone deals with at some point. Asking a friend or family member to attend a yoga, dance, or water aerobics class with you at your local community centre is a great way to help you stay on track with regular activity. You can support each other and it’s also a great way to stay connected, which furthermore boosts your mood. Working with a trainer at the gym or joining an online support group are also wonderful options.
Consult with your health care team
If you’re unsure of the best approach to take for exercising with heart failure, schedule an appointment with your health care team to discuss your options. This way, you can work together to create a personalized plan to suit your needs. According to Harvard Health, 30 minutes of exercise per day is the “sweet spot for nearly maximal health protection.” This can also be broken down into three 10-minute sessions to spread out the activity.
Keep the momentum going
It might take a while to get into a regular routine for exercising during fall — and that’s completely understandable. Once you find the best and most enjoyable option for you, the Heart and Stroke Foundation says to keep at it. “Within three months or less, you’ll notice a big difference in your fitness level. You’ll feel better, have more energy, sleep more soundly, and reduce your stress.” Remember to keep your body hydrated before, during, and after you exercise.
Allocate time for rest
Rest is key to recovery after any form of physical activity to ensure energy conservation. For you, this could mean listening to music, relaxing, or reading; it doesn’t have to be sleeping. Of course, getting six to eight hours of sleep per night aids the body’s recovery process. Scheduling periods for rest gives you time to reflect on your experience and listen to how your body is feeling. Over-exertion leads to exhaustion and stress for the heart, so make sure to only do what feels comfortable for your body.
The most recent Canadian Health Measures Survey discovered that 95% of Canadians don’t get the recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity, as reported by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. But you can join the movement to change that this fall, one step at a time.
IF YOU’RE LIVING WITH HEART FAILURE, OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE HAS THIS CHRONIC ILLNESS, CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR CLOSED FACEBOOK SUPPORT GROUP AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION