HEART ATTACK RECOVERY – Are you doing too much?
When you have had a heart attack or are recovering from heart surgery you initially take things easy which is definitely the right way to go. After the first four to six weeks you will start to feel much better and you may be tempted to try and get fitter quicker. Or you may find that those around you try and limit your activities. So how much is too much?
You should be aware that you cannot increase the rate of recovery and that by doing too much will find that the next day you are so exhausted that you need to rest. It is much better to pace yourself and take your time, start with a short walk and gradually build up the time you are walking for. This should be done everyday but remember that you are the best expert on you, there is plenty of time, you do not need to rush.
Within a short space of time you will be back to feeling normal again and you will find that life becomes much more settled. It is then easy to get back into the rush of life but do you find that you having good days and bad days? Do any of the statements below look familiar
There are days when you feel on top of the world and you feel well enough to do lots of jobs around the home and get out for a brisk walk. You will also have days when you feel so tired that you struggle to do ordinary, everyday things.
Some of the clients I work with report this and one gentleman told me
“On good days I wake up feeling really well. I try to get as much done as possible on days like that. I catch up on my jobs and have a great sense of achievement at the end of the day.” He also reported “My bad days often follow my good days. I seem to go from good to bad, I don’t understand it. On a bad day I wake up feeling tired, my body feels sluggish and seems to be telling me to rest, so I do. I put my feet up, read the paper and watch television and take things easy until I feel good again.”
This is a classic case of doing too much on one day and then having to rest and recover the next. It is easy to get stuck in this pattern and find that you are not getting back to full health and strength. It is important to keep making those lifestyle changes which includes talking physical activity most days of the week. Regaining your cardiac health is I know a major priority for you but there is a better way of going about if than this gentleman.
I have other clients who are in the seventy’s are coming to the gym three times a week for cardiovascular and weight training exercise. They are walking on the other days of the week as well as gardening and decorating and are reporting they feel fitter than they did in their fifties. How have they managed to achieve this?
It is all about planning activity into your daily life but not doing too much. The ups and downs described above will cause your fitness levels to decline as you will lose fitness quicker than you can gain it especially if you are just sitting around.
Decide what you are going to do that day and stick with it. Include a daily walk as a matter of priority. If you are then having to rest the next day and are too tired to walk then you have done too much. It can take a little while to get this right, but it is worth taking the time and effort.
Remember that you cannot save up your exercise sessions and it is important for your heart to get some cardiovascular exercise every day. Cardiac rehabilitation for your heart does not stop when you leave your hospital program but is something you can practice and should practice everyday.