Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist
The specialist physiotherapist works with the cardiac specialist nurses and cardiologists to provide help and advice on all physical activities for children and young people with congenital heart conditions. The physiotherapist may be able to advise you: – If you have difficulty with Physical activities at school or if you would like some advice on PE – Discussing if you need to limit/avoid particular activities – Help you achieve the level of fitness most appropriate for your condition – Help you get back to activity/exercise after heart surgery
It is important to remember when exercising:
-Warm up: Spend 15 minutes gradually warming up and increase your breathing and heart rate steadily.
-Main exercise: This should be done at a hard enough rate to make you feel ‘puffed’, warm and sweaty. You should be able to do the the talk test: Be able to talk in full sentences all the time you are exercising. If you cannot talk then you are working too hard and need to slow down. If you have enough breath to sing then you are not working hard enough and the exercises will not help you get fitter.
-Cool down: Very important, make sure you have enough time to cool down, it helps your circulation.
Other things to remember when exercising – Listen to your body and stay within your capabilities – Make sure you know what is and isn’t advised for your heart condition. If you are unsure, please use the contact below – Don’t become dehydrated – especially if you have a cyanotic heart problem – ALWAYS stop if you feel unwell/pain/dizzy. – You should aim to exercise at least 5x per week.
Benefits of exercise: – Develops muscles and bones – Improves flexibility – Helps improve sleep and relaxation – Maintains healthy weight – Contributes to brain development and learning – Encourages movement & Co-ordination – Builds social skills – Releases endorphins to ‘feel good’ – Boosts self-Confidence and image.
Suggestions of exercise – Join in with PE – 10,000 steps per day
Avoid: Lifting heavy weights, exercising straight after a meal, exercising if you are unwell.
Frequently asked questions
‘How will I know if I am doing too much?’
Be aware of your own limitations, when you need to rest, please rest. If you experience any of the below symptoms stop the activity immediately, if it persists seek medical assistance.
-Dizziness or feeling faint
-Difficulty speaking due to breathlessness
-Complaining of palpitations or feeling of heart pounding/fluttering or beating irregularly
-Becoming pale and clammy
-Severe tiredness or fatigue.
If you would like further information about your heart condition and the effects of exercise please contact: Sarah Hibbert (Specialist Cardiac Physiotherapist ) on 0113 3926361 or email Sarah.Hibbert3@nhs.net