Children with heart defects that cause symptoms, such as shortness of breath, fast heart rate, or sweating, may have less energy and endurance.

The heart is made of muscle – so just like the muscles in other parts of our body it needs exercise to build it up and make it strong. Like body builders who pump iron to build up muscles you can build up your heart by making it work a little harder.

Many children and young people with congenital heart disease can play and participate in activities with friends, but may tire faster and will naturally stop when they are tried.

Some children can play sports and participate in physical education in school but cannot participate in competitive or contact sports. Consult your child’s cardiologist as to what type of activities are appropriate for your child.

If physical activity must be limited in a school-aged child asked your cardiologist or cardiac liaison nurse to write a letter to help teachers understand the activities your child can and cannot participate in.