Activity Guidelines for Daily Living - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Activity Guidelines for Daily Living

Listen to your body!  Rest if you become fatigued!

To Pace Yourself:

1.  Work at a relaxed moderate speed.

2.  Allow enough time to do things so you don't have to rush at the last minute.

3.  Do not push yourself to finish a task when you are tired.

4.  Be realistic in placing expectations on yourself or in accepting commitments.  Don't be afraid to say "No" when you have taken on too much.

5.  Because stress adds an increased demand upon your heart, avoid situations, people, and conversations which will upset you.

6.   Plan rest periods frequently during the day so you don't try to do everything at once.

To Conserve Energy:

1.  Organize work centers, for example, place all equipment and supplies where they will be used most often.

2.  Space out and plan daily activities; distribute the work by doing some chores in the morning, some in the afternoon.

3.  Alternate hard tasks with easy ones.

4.  Be as relaxed and comfortable as possible; for example, when working at a sink or counter, use a high stool to sit on.

5. Bending over and reaching overhead will increase fatigue; work at a comfortable waist-level height.

6.  Proper body mechanics will aid in reducing the work of the heart; for example, when carrying a small bag of groceries, carry them in close to your body - not out front.

7.  The use of labor-saving machines such as electric can openers, knives, and power tools may reduce the workload of your heart.

8.  Avoid working with your arms above your head for prolonged periods of time; in this position, the heart has to pump the

blood against gravity in addition to supplying oxygen-rich blood to working muscles.

9.  Don't hold your muscles in sustained contraction; for example trying to move a piece of furniture in order to vacuum under it. This increases pressure in your chest and causes decreased blood flow to your heart.  Avoid any effort which causes a tendency for you to hold your breath.

Self-Care Activities

1.  Bathing - you may find it easier to take a shower than a bath, make use of a chair or stool to sit on if you find it helpful.

2.  Shaving - you may wish to sit on a high stool in front of the sink while shaving.

3.  Toilet - by using a raised toilet seat, you might find it easier to get up;  you won't have to lift your body weight as far to stand so less strain is placed on the heart.

4.  Dressing - when putting on pants, socks, or shoes, sit on the edge of the bed or in a chair;  repeated bending over will be fatiguing.


Household Chores

1.  Cleaning:

A.  When vacuuming, vacuum for one or two minutes, then dust for a minute or two.  DON'T MOVE THE FURNITURE!  VACUUM AROUND IT!

B.  Use a long handled duster to reach those high places so you won't have to hold your arms up over your head so long.        

C.  Let the "scrubbing bubbles" in spray cleaners clean your tubs, toilets and sinks to eliminate hard scrubbing.  To wipe the cleaners off, use a long handled brush.

2.  Meal Preparation:

A.  Sit at a table or counter when preparing vegetables or mixing ingredients.

B.  Use an electric knife to cut meats, use blenders and food processors to mix food.

C.  One-dish meals not only save energy in preparation, but there is only one dish to clean afterward.

D.  Let heavily-soiled pots and pans soak in hot soapy water to eliminate scrubbing.  One way to avoid this mess is to use Teflon-coated pots and pans.

3.  Laundry:

A.  Have your family be responsible for getting their own dirty clothes to the laundry room.

B.  Use a clothes dryer instead of carrying heavy wet clothes outside to hang on a line.

C.  Have the ironing board set up near the dryer, adjusted so you can sit as you iron, with hangers and the clothes that need to be ironed in a basket on a chair next to you.

D.  Put all clean clothes in individual piles and let your family members put their own clothes away.

4.  Bed-Making:

A.  Have your bed positioned so there is room to walk on both sides of the bed.

B.  Make the bed in one trip around; do one side completely, then the other.

5.  Grocery Shopping:

A.  Use a shopping cart even if you are only getting a few items; carrying a small shopping basket can be more fatiguing because you are keeping the arm muscles contracted, thereby increasing the blood pressure.

B.  Have someone carry your groceries to the car for you.

C.  Store the most frequently used items on the counter or on the lowest shelf of your kitchen cabinets or pantry.

Home Maintenance

6.Yard Work:

A.  Use a riding lawn mover to cut the grass, or have someone cut it for you.

B.  Use a lightweight electric trimmer with a long handle to trim around shrubs and trees.  (Work during the cool of the day, morning or early evenings.)

C.  Have someone shovel or plow your walks and driveways during the winter.  If you have a snow blower, ask your doctor if it would be all right for you to use it.  If the doctor gives his OK, limit your work and exposure time to a few minutes at a time.

D.  When working in the garden, use a small stool to sit on to plant or weed instead of bending over since this can interfere with the return of blood to your heart.

7.  Repairs:

A.  Use power tools (table saw, electric drill, and sander) instead of hand tools.

B.  Sit on a stool when working at the workbench.

General Activity

1.  Automobile

A.  Consult your physician as to when you will be able to drive again.

B.  Let your car warm up for ten to fifteen minutes in the winter to melt any ice on the windows.

If angina is a problem or you become fatigued easily:

A.  Park close to buildings to eliminate long walks from parking lots.

B.  Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to receive a handicapped-parking license.  This will allow you to park in special areas.

2.  Social Activities:

You will need to modify your social activities for awhile – your first weeks at home.  Ask your physician when you may take part in activities away from home.  Schedule your visitors to allow for periods of rest and avoid emotional conversations which may lead to increased tension.

3.  Travel:

A.  Check with your physician about going on a long trip.  If you are traveling in a car, stop every hour or two and walk around; this will help the circulation in your legs.
B.  Check with your physician before you take a trip to the mountains.  At high altitudes, there is less oxygen available in the air.

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