Practical guidelines for exercise prescription in patients with chronic heart failure

Heart Fail Rev. 2023 Nov;28(6):1285-1296. doi: 10.1007/s10741-023-10310-9. Epub 2023 Apr 18.


Chronic heart failure (HF) is a major cause of morbidity, mortality, disability, and health care costs. A hallmark feature of HF is severe exercise intolerance, which is multifactorial and stems from central and peripheral pathophysiological mechanisms. Exercise training is internationally recognized as a Class 1 recommendation for patients with HF, regardless of whether ejection fraction is reduced or preserved. Optimal exercise prescription has been shown to enhance exercise capacity, improve quality of life, and reduce hospitalizations and mortality in patients with HF. This article will review the rationale and current recommendations for aerobic training, resistance training, and inspiratory muscle training in patients with HF. Furthermore, the review provides practical guidelines for optimizing exercise prescription according to the principles of frequency, intensity, time (duration), type, volume, and progression. Finally, the review addresses common clinical considerations and strategies when prescribing exercise in patients with HF, including considerations for medications, implantable devices, exercise-induced ischemia, and/or frailty.

Keywords: Aerobic training; Cardiac rehabilitation; Cardiorespiratory fitness; Inspiratory muscle training; Physical therapy; Resistance training.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • Prescriptions
  • Quality of Life
  • Resistance Training*
  • Stroke Volume