After your heart attack or some other “cardiac event”, such as a coronary artery bypass graft and/or stent placement, you may have received conflicting advice as to what level of activity is acceptable. Some of the things you may have heard are:
- Don’t lift anything over 5 lbs.
- Don’t lift anything over 10 lbs. “for a while”.
- Don’t lift anything for a week.
- Don’t drive more than 30 minutes.
- Don’t “get exhausted” for a month.
- Don’t exercise for a few weeks.
- Don’t lift over 5 lbs. for a period of time — or ever.
- Go back to whatever you were doing before.
These guidelines can be confusing and promote anxiety and inactivity. Physicians generally prescribe aerobic/endurance exercise, such as walking, to strengthen your cardiorespiratory system, but in order to return to activities of daily living (ADLs), resistance training is necessary to accomplish everyday tasks, such as:
- Mowing the lawn
- Carrying your children, groceries, or suitcase
- Loading and unloading the trunk of a car/truck
- Bending over to pick up the newspaper or toys off the floor
- Lifting your grandchildren
- Placing or removing items from a high shelf
- Closing the trunk of a car or van
- Opening a heavy door (e.g., door of a car, building, refrigerator, freezer, or dishwasher)
Resistance training enables you to perform these daily tasks safely, independently and more efficiently. By having a stronger musculoskeletal system, you decrease the cardiac demands of daily activities and increase your endurance capacity for other activities. Strength training has also been shown to maintain and build stronger bones as well as slow or prevent bone loss. A strong structure will reduce your risk for developing other debilitating diseases (e.g., osteoporosis) and ultimately help you live a longer, stronger and happier life.
Muscular strength and endurance are important to prevent falls and safely return to vocational and recreational activities as well as activities of daily living. Most people need to do some type of lifting, carrying, or pushing in their daily routine. Your body has nine (9) fundamental human movement patterns. The foundation of your workouts should develop these movements: Continue reading “Weight Train After Your Heart Attack and Live Longer”