Cardiac rehab is a supervised exercise program that also provides education about nutrition, medication use and general lifestyle choices to help patients strengthen their hearts and lead healthier lives.
Your therapy team will work with you to tailor a program that fits your life and needs. Usually the team includes a doctor, nurse specialist, dietician, exercise therapist and physiotherapist. The team designs a program for your health and goals. Then they will give you support to help you succeed.
The main goal of any cardiac rehabilitation program is to lower the likelihood of future heart problems or related death. And as many people who’ve participated these programs can attest, it can help you feel better physically and emotionally and give you greater control over your health.
Through the program, you will learn how to:
Improve your physical fitness and exercise safely
Adopt a heart-healthy diet
Manage other cardiovascular risk factors
Keep up with and follow your treatment plan
Focus on your emotional health and the importance of staying engaged socially
Why is this type of program important?
Cardiac rehab can be lifesaving for many people. It can help to prevent future heart problems, cardiac events and related deaths. According to studies, people who go to cardiac rehab have up to 30% fewer fatal heart events, and are 25% less likely to die compared with people who get standard therapy alone. They also can lower their chance of a second heart attack or heart surgery.
People who enroll in this program typically have more success when it comes to controlling other cardiovascular risk factors (for example, high blood pressure or cholesterol). That’s because cardiac rehab programs are comprehensive, focusing on the whole patient and equipping him or her with the tools and information needed to make long-term health changes possible.
Other benefits include:
Less chest pain and, in some cases, less need for medications to treat it
Preventing future hospital stays
Better nutrition and the know-how to make heart-healthy choices
Reduced stress and greater emotional well-being