If you have coronary heart disease | Diabetes Hub

Exercising is good for your heart, but care must be taken. Find out what precautions to take, including a simple tip to estimate the intensity of your work out.

Physical Activity

If you have coronary heart disease

Benefits of being physically active

  • Improves blood sugar utilisation and insulin sensitivity
  • Controls weight
  • Improves fitness
  • Reduces your risk of a cardiac event
  • Increases your chances of surviving a cardiac event

Impaired blood sugar control and being sedentary are major risk factors of coronary heart disease.

Increasing your participation in physical activity and exercising is a modifiable factor that you can work on.



Monitor your intensity (exertion)

Exercise at moderate intensity.

If you have a less active lifestyle, start off with a lower intensity.

You can monitor the intensity of your activity with:

A heart rate monitor
Get a recommendation from your health care team
An exertion scale
Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) or talk test

Do the Talk Test to estimate intensity

Low Intensity: Able to sing and talk in full sentences.

Moderate Intensity: Noticeable increase in breathlessness, but can talk in phrases and short sentences.

High Intensity: Breathlessness and having difficulty talking.

What to look out for

Seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY if you experience one or more of the following symptoms before, during or after exercising:​

  • Chest pain (with or without the discomfort radiating through left shoulder/arm)
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Profuse perspiration

Reduce sedentary time by:

  • Adopting an active lifestyle through daily physical activities
  • Increasing your daily step count​

Seek medical clearance

Get a referral for a Fitness Assessment and enrol yourself in a Supervised Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme:

  • At the Singapore Heart Foundation
  • Through your cardiologist at the hospital
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