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Ease Into Exercise

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Exercise is a proven way to modify your risk factors for heart disease and help maintain overall mental and physical health. By making exercise a regular part of your daily routine, you may enjoy any or all of these benefits:
  • Strengthened heart and lungs
  • Improved circulation
  • Increased endurance
  • Lowered blood pressure

Talk to your doctor.

Always check with your doctor first before starting an exercise program. Your doctor can help you find a cardiac rehab program that matches your level of fitness and overall health.

Here is a list of questions to ask:
  • How much should I exercise every day?
  • How much exercise is right for me each week?
  • What kind of exercise do you recommend for me?
  • Are there activities I should avoid?
  • Will taking my medication have any impact on how or when I exercise?
  • While exercising, should I check my pulse?

Tips for a successful exercise program.

As you begin exercising, consider these tips to help make your recovery as successful as possible.

Take it slow

It's great to be enthusiastic about exercise, just don't get carried away too soon. Work with your doctor to determine what level of exercise is right for you.

Keep it fun and comfortable

Why not get your exercise doing something you like? It could be working out at the gym, walking, dancing, biking or even working in the yard or garden. To make exercise even more enjoyable, try wearing loose, comfortable clothes and supportive footwear, and try listening to your favorite music while you exercise.

Get some support

Finding an exercise "buddy" is a great way to keep motivated. Even when no workout partner is available, you can still look to friends and family for support and encouragement. All you have to do is ask.

Mix it up

Identify a variety of activities you enjoy and switch between them on a regular basis. That way you'll avoid the risk of exercise seeming boring or stale.

You can also get your exercise while doing household chores like vacuuming, dusting and mowing the lawn.

Create a schedule

Even the best fitness program is worthless if you can never seem to fit it into your day. Find the best location and most convenient time to plan your workout. Then make it a priority by writing it into your daily schedule. Of course, there will be times when you can't keep your exercise "appointment." When that happens, just get back on track the next day.

Note your success

Note your exercise activity so you can track your progress and success. When you achieve a milestone, do something to reward yourself. You should enjoy the good job you're doing.

Go by the numbers

It's a lot easier to exercise properly and measure your progress when you know 2 important numbers: your BMI and your target heart rate. BMI is a measure of your weight scaled according to your height. Learn more about BMI from the American Heart Association site. Check with your doctor to determine your target heart rate, and you can then monitor your pulse while exercising.