Joining a gym is a great way to have a go at lots of different exercise classes and gain access to good facilities such as swimming pools and treadmills.
Make sure you check the gym exercises you're planning to do are approved by your cardiologist before you start.
If you join a gym there are a few factors you should be aware of:
As described in the 'Type of Activity' webpage, 'static' activities are potentially harmful for some people with a heart condition.
Therefore, instead of lifting very heavy weights, use much lighter ones (up to 50% of your perceived maximum) for 10-15 repetitions to increase muscular strength and endurance. This type of training has several health benefits but does not cause a dramatic increase in blood pressure.
Key Safety Points
- check with your cardiologist before taking part in any resistance training program
- get instruction from a qualified professional
- children and adolescents should always be carefully supervised during training
- start out with easy weights and only increase the weights very gradually
- focus on breathing in and out smoothly. Never hold your breath when lifting weights
- always use good technique, lifting and lowering weights in a smooth controlled way
- make sure you drink enough water before, after and during a gym session. When you are dehydrated your heart has to work harder to compensate for the lower blood volume
- make sure that gym staff are aware of your heart condition, and check what procedures they have in place in case of a medical emergency
Remember, it's not necessary to go to a gym, unless it is something you really enjoy and it has been approved by your cardiologist. There are lots of other fun ways to increase muscular strength; such as climbing, swimming, dancing, skipping and basketball.