Many people are eager to return to their previous sports and activities (e.g. golf, bowls, tennis and swimming). This is an ideal supplement to your exercise program.
Some activities may not be intense enough to improve your fitness, although they will keep you active and mobile (e.g. golf). Alternatively, other activities require a reasonable amount of fitness to be done safely (e.g. singles tennis).
Get fit to do your recreational activities – don't use your recreational activities to keep fit!
If you have any questions or difficulties consult your doctor or cardiac rehabilitation team.
You can usually start recreational activities 4–6 weeks after going home. It is very important to go slowly, starting in a non-competitive setting where you can stop if required.
A warm-up and cool-down are essential.
Gradually increase the time and intensity of your sport as you feel comfortable.
When you are comfortable doing moderate levels of exercise, it is a good indication that you are ready to introduce some other leisure activities including sports.
Depending on your previous level of fitness, you should avoid prolonged strenuous activities for 3–6 months after leaving hospital. This applies to:
- cross-country skiing
- competitive football
- heavy weightlifting
- heavy labouring work.
Speak to your cardiologist, GP or cardiac rehabilitation team before resuming these activities.
Golf, bowls, tennis and swimming
Keep it simple at first, with putting practice at home from around 3–4 weeks. Start chipping and full swings at about 5–6 weeks, a nine-hole game at 7–8 weeks. By 8–12 weeks, a full game should be possible.
Returning to the social aspect of bowling (scoring, chatting) in the third week is a good way to slowly get back into bowls. Try simply swinging the ball at 4 weeks. Gradually upgrade the time you spend and you should be back to a full competition game by 8–12 weeks.
You may begin practice with hitting the ball and gentle serves at 4–6 weeks.
A leisurely game of doubles should be appropriate at 8–10 weeks and a full competition game at 10–12 weeks.
From your sixth week, try using a gentle stroke, and swim for a short period.
Gradually increase the time you spend swimming, adding different strokes as you feel comfortable. Ensure your wound has fully healed before entering a public swimming pool. If in doubt, check with your GP.