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Doctor promotes exercise to prevent second heart attacks

Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network--Many heart attack survivors fear that any form of exercise, including sex, could land them back in the hospital or worse, in the graveyard.

But according to one of the Philippines' foremost authorities on cardiac rehabilitation, the chance for this to happen is surprisingly minimal. In fact, patients should be encouraged to start exercising a few days after this life-changing event.

“While a heart attack — also called a myocardial infarction or MI — is definitely frightening, survivors should not be scared to try any form of cardiovascular exercise, as this has a favorable effect on heart function. They should realize that the heart will become better with exercise sooner and with continued exercise over a longer period of time,” said Dr. Adolfo Bellosillo who heads the Makati Medical Center's Cardiac Rehabilitation and Preventive Cardiology Unit.

Cardiac rehabilitation is a program that helps those who've had a heart attack restructure their lives and prevent them from having another attack or to prevent their current condition from worsening.

Bellosillo, who is founder and president of the Foundation for Lay Education on Heart Diseases, identified exercises like swimming, cycling, stationary biking or rowing as very effective in the recovery process. Furthermore, he added that if the survivor is able to perform these exercises, then it is also all right for them to resume sex.

“Why not? Surviving a heart attack should not keep the person from enjoying sex once more since the risk of having a heart attack during sex is extremely low — as long as they do it with their usual bed partner,” Bellosillo said. He cited a study that found illicit sex as particularly hazardous to heart patients (of the 1,000 heart attack sufferers who died of heart attack during sex, 80 percent were cheating).

He explained that if the person just had a heart attack, the last thing he or she needs is to laze around and do nothing.

“The best chance of recovering, especially for stable patients, is to get back on track with exercise as soon as pos

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