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Heart failure and the benefit of exercise
I have had dilated cardiomyopathy with LVEF merely 20 for 8 years. At the onset of symptoms, life was very diffiult due to impaired physical activities. However, as I underwent rigorous training, my physical condition started improving a lot after 6 months. Now, despite low LVEF and occasional VT (a couple time a year), my strength is very much like normal middle-aged people, able to walk for 10km, work out in gym for 2 hours, etc.
Although heart transplant is still inevitable, at least I keep being productive these years. I don't know if this type of physical therapy works for all people, but if you doctor encourages your to exercise, you know that it might help immensely even though it is very hard in the beginning.
JamesPL, May 31, 2021 9:17am EST
I can't agree with you enough! I've been advocating for exercise for years on this site! It has benefitted me greatly and apparently you as well. I also agree that it is important to have your healthcare professional on board. Because you are exercising, your body will better be able to handle whatever future treatments you will receive. I was told prior to my bypass surgery that my recovery would be that much smoother because I had taken care of myself. I was also told that I had probably bought myself at least ten years because I exercised. It doesn't have to be anything intense either. Walking, bike riding, weight training...etc. The key is to keep the body moving!
Thank you for your post and I wish you all the best!
tvd2021, May 31, 2021 10:49am EST
I would exercise minimum according to AHA guidelines to be functional without causing excessive cardiac remodeling (accelerate the progression). AHA guidlines are:
1. Cardio: walking 20-30 minutes couple times a week.
2. Resistance training: 1 set 10-15 reps full body workout, two times a week at submaximum weight (30-40% of one repetition maximum). The AHA guideline for RT is here;
adrianz, June 1, 2021 4:19am EST
Hi, JamesPL, very glad to see you share similar benefits. Consistency seems to be the key. When our bodies want more, we will know and then we can increase the workload accordingly.
adrianz, June 1, 2021 4:24am EST
Hi, tvd2021. I totally agree following AHA guidelines is the most important, but when we feel our bodies telling us they want more and the doctor agrees, I think we can gradually increase the exercise amount. Just my experience.
tvd2021, June 1, 2021 7:26pm EST
Do you take any supplements like CoQ10 to increase your work capacity? Most people with EF of 20 can't even walk for 5 minutes..Thanks in advance.
adrianz, June 8, 2021 11:15pm EST
@tvd2021. Yes, I do take CoQ10 and fish oil in addition to meds. But I do not think the supplements are the keys. My condition started to improve well before I started taking supplements. But, I can't say my experience is relevant to what kind of patients either.
What I can say is that at the beginning, I was very weak. But somehow I decided to force myself to walk everyday, when even walking 200M was like hell. Then gradually, I could walk 300M, 400M.... then after 6 months, 4KM. After that I started going to gym, trying all sorts of equipments. For me, stationary bicycle is the best for training patients like me. Both the pressure and speed are very controllable so that we can set it to the most appropriate level according to our condition that day. Also, exercising indoor is much safer than going outside, since we can ask for help in emergency.
But again, exercises involve risks, but my doctor are very supportive even after I suffer occasional VT. I advise patients to consult their doctors how to design the exercises.
Hope my experience could help.
tvd2021, June 8, 2021 11:42pm EST
Thanks AdrianZ. I have been supplemented for the last one month with CoQ10, L-Carnitine, D-ribose, magnesium, fish oil and a Mulitvitamin from Dr. Sinatra's book--metabolic cardiology. My symptoms almost disapear-- difficult breathing, palpitation, drop in blood pressure, and dizziness from doing work. In a few more months, I will be in class I NYHA.