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Diet & Exercise


There are often a number of reasons why we put weight on, but excess weight for people born with a heart problem can put extra strain on the heart. The best advice is to follow a healthy lifestyle, which includes both healthy eating and plenty of exercise.

 Being overweight can:

  • Cause breathlessness
  • Increase your chances of having a heart attack
  • Cause high blood pressure
  • Put additional strain on your heart
  • Increase the risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes
  • Lower self esteem

You can find out more information here.


Regular exercise has beneficial effects on physical and psychological health. The majority of people born with heart problems can lead a full and active life and do not need to restrict their physical activity. A wide variety of activities can be enjoyed such as walking, swimming, cycling and tennis for example.

Physical fitness is important in reducing the risk of both coronary heart disease and obesity. You can still improve your fitness level even if your exercise capacity is reduced. You can find out more here about exercising with a cardiac condition.


Your heart condition may not be the deciding factor if you attempt these, just your general fitness and fear factor! It is best to check with your Cardiologist or Nurse Specialist whether anything is likely to have an adverse effect on you.

Bungee jumping, for example, is dangerous for people on warfarin or for those who have an electrical device implanted. It is important to be aware that travelling to areas of high altitude can also have an effect on the cardiovascular system. You might want to scuba dive, ski, parachute jump etc. but it is sensible to fully understand the risks first by discussing with your Cardiologist or Nurse Specialist.