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Exercise After Bypass Surgery: Walking

If your healthcare provider gives you a home walking program, be sure to follow it. If you aren't given a specific program, follow these tips:

  • Start by walking 4 to 6 times a day. Walk for 5 to 6 minutes each time or as long as you can tolerate. There is not an upper limit on walking, but don't overdo it. Doing too much too early can set you back.

  • Do this 5 days a week. Rest the other 2 days.

  • As tolerated, gradually increase the amount of time you walk. Walk at a pace that is comfortable for you.

  • As you feel stronger, you can walk around your neighborhood, at a shopping mall, or on a track. Have someone walk with you in case you have any difficulty.

  • Walk inside when the weather is very hot or very cold.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothes and sturdy, comfortable shoes with non-skid soles.

  • Learn to take your pulse while you walk. Learn what your baseline heart rate is. Your pulse will go up somewhat with walking. If it becomes too fast or you become dizzy, stop and rest. If your heart rate stays high, or you develop other symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911 for help.

  • Ask your healthcare provider for a referral for a cardiac rehab program. Cardiac rehab can help you get back into your normal routine after surgery.

Man walking outdoors.

Online Medical Reviewer: Callie Tayrien RN MSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Mary Mancini MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2022
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