Staying Active: Pulmonary Embolism &
Exercise

Having a pulmonary embolism (PE) is a traumatic event that causes some people to feel like their body is fragile, and so they may refrain from physical activity as a result. However, research shows that resuming light physical activity after a PE is not dangerous. It’s important to start slow, listen to your body, and follow any instructions from your healthcare professional about your level of activity. Walking is a good place to start, and this guide can help.

Tips to make walking a daily habit

  1. Buddy up!

    Walking is more fun if you have a partner. Ask a friend or family member to take a walk with you around your neighborhood or in a local park. Take it slow, especially within the first month after a PE, and follow your healthcare professional’s instructions about wearing compression stockings.

  2. Invest in comfy shoes

    Find sneakers or walking shoes that are supportive and comfortable. If you have foot issues, consider asking your healthcare professional about orthopedic inserts.

  3. Dress the part

    It’s cold out? Bundle up in layers. You can always take off a heavier jacket or sweatshirt if you get too warm. For hotter climates, loose-fitting clothing in breathable cotton or sweat-wicking material will help keep you cool and comfortable.

  4. Hydrate

    Bring a bottle of water with you to make sure you’re replenishing fluids as you walk.

  5. Build toward your goals

    Talk to your healthcare professional and listen to your body to determine how much walking you feel is manageable, even if it’s just in 5- to 10-minute increments. You can increase your time as you start feeling better and your confidence builds.

Pulmonary embolisms (PE) and exercise

New exercise routine?

Always talk to your healthcare professional before starting any physical activity.

Tips to quit smoking after a pulmonary embolism (PE)

Do you smoke?

It's hard, but the best thing you can do for your overall health is to quit. These tips for quitting may make it easier.