Doylestown Hospital
595 West State Street, Doylestown, PA 18901 (215) 345-2200
V.I.A. Health System
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Meet Our Cardiologists
Heart Failure Causes and Symptoms
Joint Commission
Activity Level and Restrictions
Reading Food Nutrition Labels
Diet Tips
Controling Fluid Intake
Daily Weight
Heart Failure Medications
Home Care for Heart Patients
Testing for Heart Failure
Guidelines for Sexual Activity
Smoking Cessation
Heart Failure Support Group Meetings

Activity Level and Restrictions

Staying Active with Heart Failure

Activity Level

Physical activity every day can strengthen your heart and keep you in shape. Plan your individualized exercise program with your doctor. Many people benefit from Cardiac Rehabilitation. Start slowly with exercise.  Gradually build up activity. Stop activity prior to the point of fatigue.  With any activity or exercise the key is to listen to your body. If you feel bad after exercise/activity rest until you feel better. The next time limit your activity to do less.

Aerobic activity (walking, slow jogging, swimming) is most beneficial in patients with heart failure.  Light weight training is helpful, but heavy weight lifting can be dangerous.  Lift no more than 15 pounds.

Rest Period

Give yourself time to rest and revitalize. Sleep 6-8 hours per night. Plan rest times throughout the day. An afternoon nap can refresh and prepare you for activities later that daWhen resting elevate your legs to decrease swelling.

Stress reduction is important.

  • Remember to include quiet time in your day in order to relax.
  • Consider yoga or meditation which may be relaxing and not strenuous.
  • Tune into your favorite type of music, read a book or just daydream.
  • Imagine yourself in a setting that brings you good feelings. This will help you relax.

Energy Conservation


  • Plan out each day. Clean one room at a time or clean one room each day.
  • Organize your supplies. Use a rolling cart or apron with pockets to move supplies from one place to another.
  • Sit on a high kitchen stool to do dishes.
  • Line pans with foil to decrease clean-up.

Laundry and Ironing

  • Sort and fold clothes while seated.
  • Iron only when necessary.
  • Use a rolling cart to transport laundry, place next to the  ironing board for completed garments.
  • Pace yourself and take frequent rest breaks.

Meal Preparation

  • Organize your kitchen to make all heavy items accessible.
  • Sit whenever possible.
  • Plan ahead and take rest breaks.
  • Slide pots along the counter instead of lifting them.


  • Avoid hot or cold showers.
  • Leave a window or door open while showering to avoid a build-up of humidity. Plan out your grooming activities and pace yourself.