two women stretching on the sandy edge of a lake at Whisby Nature Park.

Getting Active for Heart Health

Heart and circulatory diseases kill 1 in 4 people in the UK. Not being active enough is one of the reasons people get heart and circulatory diseases like heart attacks and strokes.

Alongside a healthy diet, being active is important for keeping your heart healthy. Regular physical activity reduces your risk of coronary heart disease and many other conditions by up to 35%. It can also help manage risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Any movement is good but aim to be active enough to make your heart beat faster, you breathe harder and feel warmer. Find some general tips and advice for keeping your heart healthy in this British Heart Foundation leaflet. 

If you have a heart problem you might feel worried about starting to exercise or returning to your normal levels of activity. However, most people can stilenjoy the benefits of being active to stay healthy. By moving more your muscles and lungs will work better, meaning less strain on your heart. 

If you have had heart problems then always check with your doctor before starting any form of physical activity for the first time.

The British Heart Foundation have more advice on starting activity with a heart condition and what you should be aware of. In Lincolnshire, the Lincolnshire Community Services NHS Trust provide a cardiac rehabilitation programme for patients who have had a heart attack (myocardial infarction), coronary stent insertion, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), heart valve surgery, heart failure, heart transplant or an implantable cardiac device (ICD). Find out more about it here.

man and woman walking around a field on footpath in Spilsby in winter coats

How Should I Get Active?

If you’re new to exercising or exercising with any existing health condition, it is important to start gradually and build up levels of activity slowly. Listen to your body and do what is right for you.  Low impact exercise like walking, cycling and walking sports are a good way to keep active if you have an existing health condition.


Walking is a great way to get active, it’s completely free and you can do it anywhere! A regular brisk walk will not only boost your physical health, its also great for your mental wellbeing to get active outdoors. You don’t have to go on long walks to feel the benefits, short burst of activity throughout your day all add up.

Walking can lower your blood pressure, support your joints, help you keep at a healthy weight, build your muscle strength and improve your memory and boost your mood.

If you’d like the social aspect of walking with other people, and want to discover new routes in your local area Lincolnshire co-op run regular Wellbeing Walks at locations across Lincolnshire. All the walks are generally easy and accessible, and they are led by friendly, specially trained volunteers who are on hand to provide support and encouragement. Find out more about the walks here, or use our our activity finder to find a group near to you.

Chair Based Exercise

Chair based exercise classes and chair based yoga are gentle seated exercise classes that are particularly suitable for people with reduced mobilitiy. They are also a great way to improve posture and balance. Some sessions will use resistance bands and hand weights for strengthening muscles. Many sessions are aimed at over 55’s, but would welcome people with a heart condition. You can also find chair based yoga, which can be great for 

There are numerous sessions that take place in Lincolnshire; including through Age UK, Lincoln City Foundation and also at local leisure centres.

You can also find online chair based exercise classes online, such as this chair based yoga from pumping marvellous.


Walking Football in Lincolnshire. Image of men and women playing walking football on an outside pitch

Sport can be a great way to enjoy being active with others and have fun. If you enjoy an activity, you are much more likely to keep it up.

If you used to enjoy team sports, why not try a walking version of your favourite activity? There are sessions of the walking version of football, netball, cricket, rugby and tennis taking place across Lincolnshire. Take a look on our activity finder, or have a look at our blog here to find out more about them here.

You might want to try a new sport that you can take at your own pace  – take a look at our Try Something Different page, for ideas including New Age Kurling, Pickleball and Archery.

Get Active at Home

There are lots of ways to get active without leaving the comfort of your own home. Everyday activities such as house work and gardening can all count towards getting your recommended levels of activity each week. You just need to make sure you do them at an intensity level that makes you feel warmer to make sure you’re getting the most benefits.

There are also lots of classes you can do online, either as a virtual class where you follow a live instructor or on demand sessions you can watch and follow at a time that suits you.

We’ve included a 10 minute living room workout from British Heart Foundation. If you have a heart condition and are recovering (and have had a cardiac rehab assessment), they also have a a programme of cardiac rehabilitation exercises on their Youtube Channel.

For more on demand videos, ideas and inspiration visit our Getting Active at Home page.

Hear More

Listen as Dr Michael Mosley discovers the how a simple change to the way you walk could cut your risk of heart disease by 20-50%.

Be Inspired – Heraldo’s Story 

Getting older hasn’t stopped Heraldo from wanting to be active, but his heart condition and prostate cancer made things more complex. By trying a new activity he found something he enjoys. Watch his video, or read more about his and other inspiring stories on the We Are Undefeatable Website.