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Doctors Say Exercise A Plus For Heart-Failure Patients

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Many people believe that heart failure means the heart stops working, so it is not a good idea to exercise.

Doctors say heart failure means blood is not pumping effectively to the rest of the body. They also say that exercise is one of the best things for people with heart failure.

"It will increase their endurance," said Terry Davis, a cardiac rehabilitation specialist at Wake Medical Center. "It will allow them to do day-to-day activities for a longer period of time."

Eight months ago, Harry Craig had heart failure. He has been in cardiac rehab at


ever since.

"In here, they work miracles," he said.

When he first got to WakeMed, he said he could barely walk.

"I was weak as a baby," he said.

Now he said there are no problems.

Davis recommended for patients to start with a medically supervised program.

"We can give them proper guidelines how to take their pulse, listen to their body," she said.

She also said consistent aerobic exercise is the safest kind.

"Just low-level exercise does wonders for patients with heart failure," said Marian Uy, the coordinator of the heart-failure program.

Uy added that heart-failure patients need longer warm-ups and need to know when to stop.

"When they're tired, they need to rest," she said.

Craig said his workout is now routine. At 77 years old, he plans to exercise for the rest of his life.

"Absolutely," he said. "I'm convinced you've got to do this or just quit."

Research is underway to see if exercise helps people with heart disease live longer.


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