Published on July 06, 2017

Exercise and rest: Living well with heart failure

When you’re living with heart failure, it’s good to move.

But sometimes you need to take it easy too.

Seniors sitting in parkThe right mix of physical activity and rest may help you live better with the condition. It may give you more energy and reduce some of your symptoms. And regular exercise may even help your heart work better.

Make a safe move

“Exercise is safe for most people with heart failure, but you should ask your doctor or nurse what types and amounts are right for you,” says Mindy Hillerman, a physical therapist with Mercy Home Health.

When you are ready to be active, start slowly—even five minutes a day is fine until you can do more. Also try these tips:

  • Choose activities you enjoy. Walking is a heart-healthy exercise, and it’s easy to get started.
  • Pick a regular time to exercise when you feel most energetic, such as in the morning. 
  • Ask a friend or loved one to join you. You can encourage each other to stick with an activity.

Rest well

While it’s important to stay active, it’s also important to rest when you need it.
“Fatigue is a common problem for people with heart failure,” Mindy says.

Here are some suggestions for fighting fatigue:

  • Plan your day so that you alternate periods of being active with periods of rest.
  • Put your feet up for a few minutes every few hours.
  • If you struggle to sleep at night, avoid naps and large meals close to bedtime.

We can help

Interested in how Mercy Home Health can help you or a loved one? Call 1.888.690.2551 or visit