Encouraging Exercise in Older Adults with Congestive Heart Failure

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Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a chronic medical problem commonly found in older adults. Management of CHF ideally should combine lifestyle modifications and medication management. Exercise prescriptions and encouraging patients with CHF to exercise can have a significant impact on management of symptoms as well as exacerbation of further disease. The recommended exercise program should ideally incorporate 10 to 15 minutes of warm-up with exercise durations of 20 to 30 minutes and a cool-down period generally repeating the warm up exercises. Exercise should be done at least 3 to 5 days per week and should include a combination of aerobic and resistance exercise. The HEART approach provides a useful guide to help motivate older adults with CHF to exercise regularly. In so doing, older adults with CHF will be helped to improve and maintain cardiac status, decrease the symptoms of CHF, and improve overall quality of life.

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