If you’ve had a heart attack and/or heart surgery you know it’s a frightening experience. So, what can you do to prevent a future heart issue? Studies have shown that completing a cardiac rehabilitation program can significantly reduce your chances of having another episode or even dying from a heart attack. Here we’ll explore several of the benefits of cardiac rehab and what to expect if you join a hospital-based program.
Most programs are set up for those recovering from or working to prevent heart disease. When you start you’ll meet with an exercise specialist who will work with you to create an individualized rehabilitation and exercise routine. The routine will be tailored to your abilities and unique limitations.
You’ll also typically meet with a nutritional counselor who will recommend modifications to your eating habits. And because no one is immune to stress, you will receive some good tips on how to manage and reduce yours.
You may feel nervous about exercising after having a heart issue, but rest assured cardiac rehabilitation is the safest place to start getting your stamina and peace of mind back. While you exercise you will be ECG-monitored and a therapist will be observing and assisting you.
The goal of your rehab is to rebuild your strength, improve your overall fitness and teach you how to incorporate exercise and healthy habits into your life. You can’t underestimate the health benefits of a regular fitness routine. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) states that exercising for at least 30 minutes, five days a week improves blood lipids, blood pressure and insulin resistance and can reduce the risk and incidence of type 2 diabetes.
Attending a cardiac rehab program also has emotional benefits. Exercising in rehab can build your confidence so that you can return to the activities you enjoyed before your heart issue. There’s also a sense of comradery and sharing that happens amongst others in the program who have gone through the same experience.
So, if your doctor recommends cardiac rehabilitation for your heart issues give it a try. Chances are you’ll reap all of these benefits and many more.