Physical activity action plan

We also have a printable version of the action plan.

Simply, download and print the PDF version available below, review each action and tick the relevant columns. Make a start once you've chosen the actions you are ready to do now.

Getting started

Talk with your doctor or health professional about how to increase your physical activity levels. 

Talk with your doctor or health professional about how to increase your physical activity levels. 

Ask your doctor about what type of physical activity you should do. Also ask how long to make each session and how many times to do it per week.

Get more tips on exercising after a heart attack.

Start slowly and gradually build up your activity

Do everyday tasks, like light gardening and housework. Walk around your house and garden, or out on your street. 

Do everyday tasks, like light gardening and housework. Walk around your house and garden, or out on your street. 

Any light physical activity is better than none.  Simply standing up and moving around your home and neighbourhood will help improve your fitness.  To encourage you to move more, maybe you could walk the dog, or offer to walk a neighbour’s? Or even remove the remote control from the living room so you have to get up off the couch to change the channel.

Gradually increase your physical activity to 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week.

Gradually increase your physical activity to 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week.

The best way to resume physical activity after a heart attack is to start with a small amount.You can gradually build up the time each day. Some people find it easier to start with short (10-15 minute) sessions, and add them up over the day. Once you’re doing 30 minutes a day, then you can begin increasing the intensity (how much you puff).  You could start with light movement around your home and slowly increase to a walk around the block, or even more. Before you know it, you’ll be fit enough to do 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most, if not all, days of the week.

Why not join a Heart Foundation Walking group to meet people and be physically active?  Find out more today!

As your fitness increases, try activities such as cycling, swimming, tennis or golf. 

As your fitness increases, try activities such as cycling, swimming, tennis or golf. 

Activities that get you moving quickly or involve lifting weights are great options as your fitness improves.  Talk to your doctor or exercise professional before you do activities that are new for you (like going to the gym or swimming). They’ll help you start safely. Look for things you enjoy that get you huffing and puffing or sweating – maybe even hula hooping! Being active with friends is a great way to stay motivated, maintain your heart health, and have a laugh along the way.

Ways to be more active every day

Spend less time sitting down, e.g. watching TV or at the computer. 

Spend less time sitting down, e.g. watching TV or at the computer. 

Try to break up the time you spend sitting as much as possible.  You could stand up and walk around during ad breaks on TV, or take regular breaks when driving long distances or working at a desk.

Get more tips for sitting less.

Be more physically active at home, e.g. vacuum, do some gardening, mow the lawn. 

Be more physically active at home, e.g. vacuum, do some gardening, mow the lawn. 

There are many ways to be physically active in your home – no special equipment required! Housework, gardening, and playing with kids or a pet are all ways to move more and sit less in your own home.  If you’re feeling adventurous you can even to sit ups or push ups on your living room floor!

Try walking, cycling or taking public transport. 

Try walking, cycling or taking public transport. 

A good way to be more active is to build it into your travel. Why not leave your car at home and walk, cycle or take public transport to where you need to go? Walking from home to a bus stop or train station is not only good for your heart health, it’s also great for the environment! At the Heart Foundation we’re passionate about building communities that support physical activity for transport and a healthy lifestyle.

Discover ways to stay active at home and in the workplace.

Take the stairs instead of the lift. 

Take the stairs instead of the lift. 

Simple actions like taking the stairs or walking up escalators are great ways to include exercise in your day.  To add more physical activity, park your car further from your destination and walk the rest of the way. Get together with friends at your workplace to be active, or join a local sporting club.  The opportunities are endless!

Find more ways to be active.

Buy a pedometer and keep a record of your steps. 

Buy a pedometer and keep a record of your steps. 

There are many fitness tracking devices and apps. They can track your steps and physical activity – some even record your heart rate and the flights of stairs you climb! Does knowing your numbers motivate you? Then why not wear a fitness tracker and challenge yourself to a daily goal?  Remember to aim for around 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week.

You can find pedometers in the Heart Foundation Shop.

 Join a Heart Foundation Walking group

 Join a Heart Foundation Walking group

Joining a walking group helps you get more physical activity. It also connects you with other people who’ve shared the same experience.  Heart Foundation Walking groups are free and make regular exercise enjoyable and easy. Groups are many sizes and walk at various times, distances, days and levels of difficulty. If you don’t live near a group or prefer to walk on your own, you can join as a ‘Virtual Walker’ and track your progress online.

Find a walking group near you or call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 1300 36 27 87 to help you.

  • At least one action needs a decision made.

Well done on making a great start. You're already doing many of these actions already. It's good to go back and check the things you're already doing. For example, use a food diary track your progress, whether it's actions you're already doing, or ready to do now.

The tips below can help you plan each step in your recovery.

Well done on making a great start. You're already doing many of these actions already. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress, whether it's actions you're already doing, or ready to do now.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on making a great start. You're already doing many of these actions already. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress, whether it's actions you're already doing, or ready to do now.

Don't worry about not being ready to take action on some things. Recovery is not a race. Remember every step you take counts.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on starting your action plan. It's great that you're ready to take action on so many things. Sometimes, it's challenging when you have a long list of things to do. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress as you go.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on making a start. It's great that you're ready to take action on so many things. Sometimes, it's challenging when you have a long list of things to do. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress as you go.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

It's great that you're ready to take action on so many things. Sometimes, it's challenging when you have a long list of things to do. You can help keep yourself on track by using a diary to track your progress as you go.

Don't worry about not being ready to take action on some things. Recovery is not a race. Remember every step you take counts.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery.

Well done on starting your action plan. Making a plan is an important step in your recovery. Even though you don't feel ready to make a start with most actions, don't worry. Recovery is not a race. Every step you take counts – even if it's just one.

Take your time. The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

Well done on making a start. Making a plan is an important step in your recovery. Even though you don't feel ready to make a start with most actions, don't worry. Recovery is not a race. Every step you take counts – even if it's just one.

Take your time. The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

Well done on starting your action plan. It's great that you're ready to take action, no matter how many steps you're ready to take action on.

Making a plan is an important step in your recovery.

Even though you don't feel ready to make a start with most actions, don't worry. Recovery is not a race. Every step you take counts – even if it's just one.

Take your time. The tips below can help you plan your next step toward recovery, even if you think you're not ready.

Already doing this

You haven’t selected anything that you’re ‘already doing’. Don’t worry, just choose something you’re ‘ready to do now’ and focus on that. If you need advice, you can call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 1300 36 27 87.

You’ve already started these actions. Great work. When you get started, keep track of your progress using a diary and the will become part of your routine in no time.

You’ve already started these actions. Great work. Keep track of your progress using a diary and the will become part of your routine in no time.

Ready to do now

You haven’t selected anything that you’re ‘ready to do now’. If you’re not sure what to do next, talk to a friend, your health care professional about steps you can take to improve your heart health. If you need advice, you can call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 1300 36 27 87.

It’s great you’re ready to start this action. Take your time getting it right, then select a new action to try. The tip below can help you make this action plan work for you.

It’s great you’re ready to start these actions. Take your time getting them right, then select a new action to try. The tips below can help you make this action plan work for you.

Not ready yet / Undecided

You haven’t selected anything you’re ‘not ready to do’. Well done, it looks like you’re making great progress. Follow the tips above for things you’re ‘ready to do now’. If you need a new challenge, ask a health care professional about more ways to improve your heart health. If you need advice, you can call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 1300 36 27 87.

You’ve listed the below item as something you’re not ready to do yet. Give this action a try when you’re ready.

You’ve listed the below items as something you’re not ready to do yet or you may not have selected it at all. Give one of these actions a try when you’re ready

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Making progress

Physical activity action plan (pdf)

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