a man with heart failure running depicted 5 times, noticing the benefits of exercising

A Hidden Benefit of Exercise

We all know that exercise is a key component of heart health. Even after diagnosis, most people will be given clearance to exercise, with or without restrictions. We all know we should do it. Some of us will exercise, some of us will not. I am here to give you one more incentive to exercise if you don’t, and one more reason to keep exercising if you already do.


One of the first questions you may want to ask is what type of exercise am I talking about? For this benefit, you only need to do some form of physical activity that raises your heart rate. This can be cardio in any form or fashion, weight lifting, gardening, etc. As you can see, there is no specific exercise that can be used. The important part is you must be consistent with the exercise.

Consistency. What do I consider consistent? Doing the same type of exercise with the same intensity at least twice a week. Naturally, you do not need to be perfect in time and intensity. You do want to stay consistent in the type of exercise as the benefit is a comparison.

The biggest hidden benefit to exercise is the ability to tell when you are declining or have an issue in between doctor visits and tests. By consistently exercising, you will be able to compare each exercise session with previous ones to see if you feel any better or worse, specifically looking to see if you feel worse.

Signs that could save your life

It is great if you feel better, but feeling better is not necessarily going to be as dangerous as feeling worse. A sedentary lifestyle will make it much more difficult to tell if you begin to decline and serious problems can hit you without warning. Those with coronary artery disease may be able to tell when arteries are beginning to get to a critical level of blockage. If you have a reduced ejection fraction, you may be able to tell when you are about to have an issue and can potentially avoid it by taking extra precautions.

Of course, this is not an exact diagnostic tool, but it is a good benefit of regular exercise. There are a lot of diagnostic tests your doctor may not utilize because at rest you show no symptoms or need for the test. These tests can include a stress test or cardiac catheterization amongst others. Some of the tests are not indicated unless you have symptoms that warrant the test. If you do not exercise, you could miss signs that could save your life.

A plan for the long run

We all know heart failure complications can hit hard and fast. If you had a way to predict when symptoms may hit you, would you want to know that? Of course, you would! I am giving you a tool to help you learn your body and predict symptoms before they wipe you out for a day, a week, or longer. As I said, the type of exercise does not matter, so long as you are doing something consistently. Find out restrictions from your doctor and create a workout plan that you will enjoy and stick in the long run. It could very well save your life!

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