Team Transformational Solutions

Physical Therapy and a Healthy Heart

When it comes to heart health, incorporating exercise into your routine is crucial. Physical therapy can play a significant role in guiding you through exercises tailored to your specific needs and abilities, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or injuries that need to be taken into consideration. Here are some heart-healthy exercises that are commonly recommended and can be incorporated into physical therapy:

  1. Cardiovascular Exercises: These are exercises that get your heart rate up and improve cardiovascular health. They include activities like brisk walking, cycling, swimming, and dancing. Your physical therapist can help you determine the intensity and duration of these exercises based on your current fitness level and any health concerns.
  2. Strength Training: Building strength is important for overall health and can also benefit your heart. Your physical therapist can guide you through exercises using resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines to strengthen your muscles, including your heart muscle.
  3. Flexibility and Stretching: Improving flexibility can help with overall mobility and may reduce the risk of injury during exercise. Your physical therapist can teach you stretching exercises to improve flexibility in key areas like your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, shoulders, and back.
  4. Balance and Coordination Exercises: These exercises can help improve your balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls and injuries. They may include activities like standing on one leg, heel-to-toe walking, and using balance boards or stability balls.
  5. Interval Training: Interval training involves alternating between periods of high-intensity exercise and periods of rest or low-intensity exercise. It can be an effective way to improve cardiovascular fitness and burn calories. Your physical therapist can help you design interval training workouts that are safe and effective for your fitness level.
  6. Mind-Body Exercises: Practices like yoga and tai chi not only improve flexibility and balance but also promote relaxation and stress reduction, which can benefit heart health.

It’s important to work closely with your physical therapist and healthcare provider to design an exercise program that is safe and effective for you, taking into account your individual health status and any medical conditions you may have. Additionally, remember to listen to your body and adjust your exercise intensity as needed.

Susan Vincent OTR
Regional Director of Operations for Rehabilitation
Therapy and Rehabilitation