Can you have mitral valve prolapse and exercise?
Many MVP patients ask this question. The answer is yes, you can. In fact, most medical professionals agree that exercise is one of the best therapies available to people living with mitral valve prolapse, particularly those who are symptomatic.
Studies show that symptoms like fatigue, chest pain, anxiety attacks, dizziness, and mood swings are reduced when patients engage in certain types of exercise. Of course, every individual and case is different, and exercising may not always be suitable (your physician will help you determine this), but physical activity is beneficial for the majority of sufferers.
The Heart, Mitral Valve Prolapse, and Exercise
The heart, like any other muscle in the human body, strengthens with exercise. Over time, this renders it capable of pumping more blood and working at full capacity when needed. People who engage in regular physical activity have slower resting heart rates than those who don’t, because less effort is required to pump blood. In other words, exercising is a good thing for most of us.
In the case of mitral valve prolapse, some types of exercise are more beneficial, though, such as low-intensity cardiovascular (aerobics) workouts. Resistance training (weight lifting) tends to place too much strain on the left ventricle and mitral valve and therefore isn’t recommended.
Best Mitral Valve Prolapse Exercises
Underrated, this is one of the best cardiovascular workouts when it comes to mitral valve prolapse and exercise. It’s perfect for unfit beginners and can be done almost anywhere. The benefits are numerous.
Apart from strengthening the heart, lowering blood pressure, and stabilizing blood sugar levels, this low-impact exercise reduces your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and even some types of cancer. 30 minutes a day at a moderate pace can improve health and MVP symptoms.
Jogging is equally beneficial. In fact, it will get you fit even faster. However, since it is more intense and places more strain on the heart, muscles, and joints, there is an increased risk of injury. MVP symptoms may also be amplified during activity, so it may not be suitable for everyone.
Most people need to make a gradual shift from walking to jogging, and it is recommended that those who have mitral valve prolapse and exercise this way inform their doctors. A 20-minute jog daily is sufficient to boost health, but stretching, warming up, and cooling down are important.
This is another great way to keep the heart and body strong. A low-impact, whole-body exercise, cycling (or bicycling) can be done indoors or outdoors and offers health benefits that range from improved cardio fitness and stamina to better coordination and reduced stress.
If you choose to cycle, though, you will need some equipment. It’s also wise to get the go-ahead from your doctor before you begin, as cycling is harder on the heart. Depending on your case, he may set some mitral valve prolapse exercise restrictions. Start slow. 15-20 minutes a day.
If you want to get into shape, strengthen your heart, and decrease MVP symptoms, swimming is a great way to do it. Placing little to no impact on the joints, it works the whole body and makes for a refreshing workout that improves how the body utilizes oxygen. Actually, it offers many health benefits.
You don’t even need to swim laps – freestyle swimming works well for people who have mitral valve prolapse and exercise in the water. Work your way up to 45 minutes daily for better health.
That’s right, housework. Vacuuming. Mopping floors. Mowing the lawn. You know. While these activities are not technically exercises, they can affect your heart and health positively if performed regularly, so don’t hold back. You could even turn your chores into full-on workouts. It’s about staying active.
Besides, a cleaner home can often have an impact a person’s state of mind – it’s mentally therapeutic. 30 minutes a day is enough to improve heart and lung function and ward off MVP symptoms.
Mitral Valve Prolapse Cardio Exercise: Precautions
Although exercising is generally safe for people with MVP, it is always best to take precautions.
First, be sure to check with your physician or cardiologist before starting any new exercise programs, as he or she knows your specific case and can advise you appropriately.
Monitoring your heart rate when you’re active is another way to prevent problems, and one should always listen to their symptoms. If your heart races excessively or you start to feel weak or lightheaded during activity, slow down a little, or stop if you have to. Let your doctor know about this.
Finally, the right gear and form can reduce the risk of injury and make mitral valve prolapse and exercise less strenuous. Invest in good equipment. Take the time to learn how to perform the exercises.