Exercise for PAD: What to Know

Exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. For most people who have peripheral artery disease (PAD), it is vital to schedule daily exercise while still consulting with your doctor on treatment. PAD is caused by the buildup of plaque in the arteries, which restricts blood flow. The muscles don’t get the nutrients and oxygen they need, and limited mobility may result. If you have PAD you need to consult with a doctor before you begin an exercise program, especially if you have been more sedentary recently. It is best to start out slowly and build your way up as your body adapts to the change.

Visit USA Vascular Centers where vascular specialists can recommend personalized treatment, including the best exercises for peripheral artery disease.

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Can Exercise Help Prevent or Treat PAD?

PAD has several risk factors, including atherosclerosis, which may be prevented or improved with regular exercise. A workout regimen can help reduce high cholesterol and plaque buildup, and is part of the treatment plan for those who suffer from PAD. Exercise helps raise good cholesterol (HDL), which can lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) that forms plaque in your arteries. 

Regular physical activity can also help increase blood flow to your legs. Along with a diagnosis of PAD, you may have other underlying health issues like diabetes or high blood pressure, which can make movement difficult. A doctor will consider your overall health when recommending an exercise program. They may prescribe medication to help monitor and control other health conditions before you begin exercising. A doctor can recommend specific exercises that you can manage on a regular basis.

What is the Best Exercise for Peripheral Artery Disease Patients?

The best exercise for PAD are physical activities that you enjoy, so you can stay committed. Walking and other cardiovascular activities, like biking and swimming, help increase blood flow throughout the body, including the legs. Treadmill walking is a good option if you don’t feel like going outside or can’t walk very far. 

Low-impact cardio is less likely to harm your joints, which is an important consideration if you have been sedentary or if you suffer from pain caused by PAD. Start out slowly with any exercise as you build up endurance. You’ll find that after a while, you can increase the length of time or the amount of exercise you can complete. These are some of the best exercises for PAD and can reduce pain and discomfort that comes from restricted blood flow.

Make sure you avoid any strenuous exercise, which can be hard on your heart and lungs. If you put too much strain on your heart, it will be even harder to get oxygenated blood to your leg muscles, which leads to leg pain.

Exercise Programs for PAD Prevention and Treatment

Exercise alone won’t prevent or treat PAD. If you think you have symptoms of the condition, you should be diagnosed and seek treatment. A fitness routine is part of a complete program, which includes the following non-surgical procedures:

  • Angioplasty: a procedure where a balloon is inserted into the affected artery to press against the walls and open it up for increased blood flow.
  • Stent placement: A procedure where a mesh stent is placed inside the affected artery to allow normal blood flow.
  • Atherectomy: A procedure where the plaque is scraped away from the arterial walls, allowing for improved blood flow.

Generally, the recommended amount of exercise for most people is at least 30 minutes for five days a week, but you should always consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. The specialists at USA Vascular Centers can work with your primary physician to develop an exercise program to treat PAD along with one of the available treatment options.

Schedule a Consultation with USA Vascular Centers

If you’ve been diagnosed with PAD, don’t start exercising until you have spoken with a medical professional. The vascular specialists at USA Vascular Centers will discuss your options with you and develop a complete treatment plan which may include exercise as directed by your primary care physician. Non-surgical treatments are critical to managing PAD and reducing the symptoms.

Call USA Vascular Centers at 888.773.2193 or schedule a consultation online to visit one of our over 40 centers across the country.

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