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Strength Training and Heart Disease

If you think that you can't begin a strength-training program because you have heart disease, think again. Heart patients who do a strength-training program 3 times a week build up their aerobic capacity in addition to building strength and flexibility.

Strength training has many benefits. It can help you lose weight and help reduce the symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, back pain, and depression. It might even help you sleep better.

Here are some tips on getting started:

  • Check with your health care provider before starting any exercise program. He or she may have suggestions about what type of program is best for you.

  • Learn proper technique from a trainer at your local gym, or take a class. Check with your doctor about participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program.

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Look for sturdy athletic shoes with good support and rubber soles.

  • Start slowly, and pay attention to how you feel. Expect some stiffness and sore muscles, but not pain.

  • Try to schedule your workout for a certain time of day, such as before breakfast or dinner, so that it becomes part of your routine.

  • Give your muscles a day of rest in between each strength-training session.

  • Try working your lower body 1 day and then your upper body the next day. This way you won't overwork the same muscles.

  • Invite a friend or family member to start strength training with you. This will make exercising more enjoyable and may help keep you motivated.

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