Cardiac rehabilitation is a program designed to help those with heart problems, such as a previous heart attack or heart surgery, to restore cardiac health.
Cardiac rehabilitation is not always prescribed for heart disease. Your doctor will run tests and do a physical exam to see if you are a good candidate.
Cardiac rehab consists of three parts: exercise education and training, education about heart-healthy living and nutrition, and stress counseling. Doctors, nurses, nutritionists, trainers, and family and friends may all be involved.
People with heart disease who exercise regularly have a decreased chance of further problems. An exercise program will assess what state of aerobic activity — activity that benefits the heart — you are ready for and build on this. Walking, biking, swimming, jogging, and rowing are low-impact exercises that can benefit the heart. If you’ve never done any of these things before as exercise, your cardiac team will start you at a very low level of activity and gradually increase it. To make sure you don’t strain or injure your muscles, stretching and strengthening exercises will be part of the program.
In addition to an exercise program, you will likely be encouraged to add extra physical activity to your day. Walking up and down stairs and doing household chores are two examples of physical activities that can be incorporated into most peoples’ life.
Learning to make heart-healthier choices is an important part of cardiac rehab. If you smoke, you’ll be encouraged to stop, as smoking worsens heart disease. If your blood pressure is high, you will be advised to reduce your salt intake and monitor your weight. You will be advised on a low-cholesterol diet, and your medications will be reviewed to make sure your treatment plan is working for you.
Stress is associated with the risk of heart disease complications. Breathing exercises, positive self-talk, and stress-reducing activities like reading, listening to music, or engaging in a favorite hobby can all help. If your stress is constant and seems unmanageable, you may be referred to a counselor.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
What Is Cardiac Rehabilitation? — American Heart Association
Cardiac Rehabilitation — Mayo Clinic