Physical exercise

Exercise has a beneficial effect on physical and mental health, in particular it reduces stress and anxiety. It can help maintain the correct weight and prevent sedentary-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

It is important to choose an activity that is pleasant, knowing your body and its limits.

For many patients with cardiomyopathy with no or few symptoms (class I and II), this does not interfere in any way with the lifestyle and mild or moderate physical exercise can be done regularly and without any disturbance.

On the other hand, the advice of the cardiologist must always be requested before undertaking very demanding physical activities. In this case the cardiologist can derive the level of commitment and the limits of the exercise from the result of the Stress test and more precisely from the Cardiorespiratory test, also commonly used by athletes.

In any case it is not recommended participation in competitive sports, or making long-lasting and exhausting physical efforts, or characterized by jerks and sudden accelerations.

Some patients with cardiomyopathy instead they can have symptoms even for light efforts, and are unable to perform an important exercise (Class III and IV).

Walking or cycling, "with pedal assistance", if necessary, or carry out gymnastic stretching exercises these are activities that require minimal effort and are allowed in any case. Indeed it is advisable to take a walk of at least half an hour every day, in the absence of heart failure.

Among the various activities it should be remembered that there are several limitations for patients with ICD, such as demanding physical activities that can induce a heart rate that is too high, or freestyle swimming, which is not recommended in patients with Transvenous ICD for the strain to which the leads are subjected.

Precise advice on how much exercise to do is difficult to give, and it varies from patient to patient. In general, one should never be exceeded during physical activity maximum heart rate equal to 2/3 of the expected maximum (220 beats per minute minus age). For example, for a 40-year-old patient, the maximum recommended rate is 120 beats per minute.

Sports fitness

Participating in competitive sports activities involves a training period, that is, a physiological adaptation to physical effort, which must be made in order to improve one's sporting performance to express oneself at best in the context of a competition.

In Italy to patients with Cardiomyopathy does not a certificate of suitability for competitive sports. However, according to the 2017 COCIS recommendations for patients with Hypertrophic, dilated cardiomyopathy or non-compact left ventricle, and "low" risk profile or ICD carriers, the eligibility to participate in training and competitive competitions for sports with limited physical effort such as horse riding, golf, sailing, bowls, billiards, may be granted, after an accurate cardiological evaluation.

For patients with Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy it is not granted in any case.