Heart Conditions

Exercises Heart Patients Must Avoid!

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 19 January 2023

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Exercise is the key to keeping yourself healthy. It is a scientifically proven fact that physical activity not only protects us from developing cardiovascular diseases but also helps to manage other risk factors such as body weight, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and insulin resistance. However, if you already have a heart problem, practising some exercises may do more harm than good. Confused? Here's all you need to know about which exercises to avoid to keep your heart healthy.

Exercises that you must avoid

Some exercises might be harmful if you have been diagnosed with heart problems such as coronary heart disease (CHD). You must take precautions to make sure your exercise programme doesn't endanger your health.

  • HIIT: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the exercises that must be avoided by heart patients. Although these HIIT workouts have multiple benefits for healthy individuals, they can push your heart to work extra hard which may be hazardous if you have an underlying heart condition. Heart patients may experience uncomfortable side effects such as angina (chest pain) or vertigo (head spinning).
  • Running: Running is good for your cardiovascular health and is a great way to burn calories. However, running for long periods causes your heart to contract rapidly, pushing it past its maximum capacity. All that beating may cause scarring or fibrosis patches if you already have a heart condition.

Those with known cardiac issues, such as a prior heart attack, bypass surgery, or angioplasty must consult a doctor before starting an exercise programme.

Exercise for heart patients

People who are physically active throughout the day, such as cleaning, gardening, or running errands, burn more calories and are generally in better health than those who don't exercise at all. If you have any heart condition, the safe option is to start by being active throughout the day, rather than spending hours exercising in the gym.

  • Brisk walking: If you are someone having a heart issue, you must start by walking for 10-15 minutes each day and gradually work your level up to 30 minutes.
  • Yoga and breathing exercises: Strength, flexibility, balance, and relaxation can all be enhanced through the practice of yoga. Yoga and breathing exercises for heart patients include a series of physical poses and breathing techniques that strengthens your heart muscles.

Duration of exercise matters

Duration of exercise is crucial. The key is to give your heart enough time to strengthen and develop the capacity to support the demands of exercise. You must begin with lower-intensity, shorter-duration exercise. Once your body gets accustomed to your exercise routine, gradually increase the intensity and duration of exercise with the guidance of a professional.


1. What is the best exercise equipment for heart patients?

The best exercise equipment for heart patients is a treadmill, on which they can control their level of walking in a secure environment.

2. What are good exercises for heart patients?

Heart patients can do any low-intensity exercise as long as they don't exert themselves. Walking, yoga and breathing exercises are ideal for them.

3. Can I do HIIT if I have congestive heart failure?

No, HIIT is a very intense workout that can cause breathlessness and even heart attack in those with pre-existing heart disease.

4. Can I do weight training if I have heart disease?

You may do simple weight training if you have heart disease but always consult your cardiologist before starting.

5. What yoga is best for heart patients?

Heart patients can do simple yoga asanas coupled with breathing exercises like pranayama.

Heart patients should engage in light to moderate exercise, which improves cardiovascular health. They must strictly avoid engaging in high-intensity exercises for an extended period as it may be damaging to their heart health. The best physical activity for heart patients is walking, yoga, and breathing exercises. Yoga and breathing exercises not only benefit the body but also help to calm the mind. For expert advice,

Consult An Apollo Cardiologist


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.


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