People who have undergone angioplasty followed by stent placement generally have better blood supply to the heart muscle than do other people. That increased blood supply means that you should be able to participate in more physical activity than you did before the procedure. Not only is exercise safer than it was before your angioplasty but most doctors recommend it because of the benefits you can enjoy.

Exercise helps prevent the recurrence of the condition that led to the angioplasty in the first place. In addition, regular exercise helps you sleep better at night and keeps your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight at healthy levels.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions concerning when you can resume activity after angioplasty. Usually, you should wait at least two days after your procedure before standing or walking for any length of time. After that, you can begin low-impact exercise–for example, walking for short distances. You should find that you have more energy than before the procedure, because your cardiovascular function is better. Avoid vigorous exercise for 30 days.

Set goals. By the six-week mark, you could be walking two, three or even five miles at a time, depending on how fit you were before your angioplasty. Increase your time and distance slowly. Do not exercise so hard that you feel exhausted, experience chest pain or are unable to speak. Ideally, as you work out, your heart rate will rise gradually–then decrease as you cool down–and you will feel just slightly out of breath.

Besides the moderate fitness routines you already enjoy–walking, swimming, low-impact aerobic dance–we can suggest other exercises tailored to your specific needs. Anything from heel raises to arm lifts can help you build strength and stamina as you work into a healthier, fitter lifestyle.

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