Exercise and heart disease

Learn how to improve your fitness and well-being.


Having heart disease doesn’t mean you can’t get fit. You might feel nervous about working out. But studies show that exercising is good — even for people with heart disease.


Check with your doctor first

If you haven’t exercised much before, you may not know where to start. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor before you start any exercise program. Here are some tips for exercising safely with heart disease:

  • Start slowly and build up to your goal.
  • Make exercise part of your daily routine. 
  • Break up your exercise into smaller chunks.
  • Warm up before and cool down after.
  • Exercise with a friend.

  Regular exercise can help:

  • Strengthen your heart 
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Lower blood sugar levels 
  • Lower “bad” cholesterol
  • Raise “good” cholesterol

What types of things can you do?

Doing something that exercises your heart and lungs will improve blood flow and oxygen levels in your body. Swimming, biking, walking quickly and light jogging are all good examples. Over time, you should notice that you can do more without getting winded. You may also lose some weight as your body starts getting toned. That’s great, because when you see positive results, you’re more likely to keep your exercise program going.


  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute


The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.