Can Angina Be Cured by Exercise?

Older man with angina exercising in a gym
Written by: Jennifer

If you have been diagnosed with angina, you might be wondering if physical exercise will help or hinder your symptoms. In this article, we discuss what angina is, give an overview of the common symptoms of angina and answer the question, ‘can angina be cured by exercise?’

What is angina?

Angina pectoris, more commonly known as angina, is a type of chest pain or discomfort that results from inadequate blood flow to the heart. When there is reduced blood flow to the heart, the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen.

There are two main types of angina:

  • Stable angina: Stable angina is chronic but predictable. Angina attacks typically occur in response to physical activity or stress.
  • Unstable angina: Unstable angina is unpredictable. Attacks can occur even when you are at rest.

Angina is the result of an underlying condition such as coronary artery disease, which causes your coronary arteries to become narrowed or blocked. This causes poor blood flow through the blood vessels in your heart and the onset of angina symptoms.

What are the symptoms of angina?

Symptoms of angina can present differently in men and women and from person to person, but common signs include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort: Feeling a squeezing sensation, pressure, or stabbing pain in the chest is a widely-reported sign of angina.
  • Pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen: This can feel similar to indigestion and vary in intensity.
  • Shortness of breath: shortness of breath, particularly when you are not exerting yourself, can be due to angina.
  • Nausea or vomiting: some people with angina, especially women, experience nausea or vomiting.
  • Fatigue: unexplained fatigue is sometimes a symptom of angina and is caused by low levels of oxygen reaching the muscles.

Can angina be cured by exercise? 

When properly managed, exercise is safe and beneficial. Unfortunately, you can’t cure angina with exercise, but research has shown that appropriate exercise can help reduce its symptoms. Exercise increases blood flow to the heart and builds up the amount of oxygen that your body can absorb. This can reduce the risk of heart attacks and the onset of heart disease.

However, when you suffer from angina, you must speak with your physician before you change your exercise routine. If you don’t currently exercise or have any other risk factors, getting professional guidance on what types and activity levels are safe for you is crucial. Physical exercise can be a great way to manage your angina and improve your overall cardiovascular health with the right precautions.

What’s the best exercise for angina?

Cardiologists recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week for patients with chronic stable angina. Your doctor might recommend using a GTN spray or taking beta-blockers before beginning your workout. Ensure that you take time to warm up and begin slowly. You can gradually increase the intensity of the exercise as your fitness level improves.

Moderate-intensity aerobic exercises such as walking and swimming are great exercises. You must listen to your body and know how working out affects your angina symptoms. If you experience any angina pain during exercise, stop immediately and rest. If you experience any symptoms of angina before you begin, don’t exercise. At the end of your workout, take ten minutes to cool down and stop activity gradually, allowing your heart rate to return to normal.

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How can you control angina symptoms?

It’s important for people with angina to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  • Stay active: Incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle can reduce the symptoms of angina and improve your overall cardiovascular health.
  • Try Flow Therapy: Flow therapy can help patients manage symptoms associated with angina — it is a natural, non-invasive treatment option that mimics passive exercise.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking is one of the leading causes of heart disease, and when you quit smoking, it can have a significant impact on your cardiovascular health.
  • Lose excess weight: Losing weight can help to reduce your angina symptoms and improve your overall health.
  • Eat healthy foods: A healthy diet helps reduce some risk factors for developing angina, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.

Keep Reading: The natural approach to angina treatment

Flow therapy and angina

Flow therapy is a clinically proven non-invasive treatment for chronic heart conditions such as angina. It utilizes synchronized compression to mimic exercise, which increases oxygenated blood to the heart. Treatments help restore blood flow, improve cardiovascular function and reduce your symptoms of angina.

Being non-invasive and drug-free, Flow Therapy can be used alongside exercise and in addition to your existing medication regimen. Flow therapy is particularly beneficial for people who can’t exercise as it enables them to get the benefits of exercise without putting any strain on their hearts. If you’re interested in trying flow therapy to manage your angina symptoms and improve your overall cardiovascular health, check for a Flow Therapy location closest to you.

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