Cardiac rehab can get you started on the path to better health
Cardiac rehabilitation can help you regain control of your health after a cardiovascular event. It's not always easy, but it can make you feel better and can help you make the transition back to a healthier and more active life.
Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program, individualized for each person, that consists of exercise training, as well as education and counseling about heart-healthy living. The program is designed to help patients recover more quickly and may reduce the risk of a future cardiac event by slowing, stabilizing or reversing the progression of cardiovascular disease.
Here are some things to consider after you have a heart attack or other cardiac event:
- Attend a cardiac rehab program. Cardiac rehabilitation gives you the opportunity to begin a regular exercise program under the guidance of cardiac rehab specialists. Your team is also a great source of information about all aspects of heart attack recovery and can provide education and counseling about how to live a more heart-healthy life.
- Identify what caused your cardiac event. Knowing what contributed to your heart attack — uncontrolled high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, etc. — will help you better understand what you can do to prevent it from happening again. This knowledge will also explain why certain medications are being prescribed for you.
- Slowly increase your physical activity. In addition to cardiac rehab appointments, keep up with doctor-approved exercises, such as walking. Try to exercise at the same time each day. This will help establish a habit and also reduces the impact that the timing of medication or meals may have on your physical activity.
- Be safe. In the early weeks of rehab, stay close to home when you go for a walk or exercise with a friend or family member. Don't do too much too soon and only engage in activities that your doctor has cleared you to do. If at any time you experience shortness of breath, chest discomfort or increasing fatigue, stop exercising and contact your doctor.