If you’ve ever been treated for a heart attack or other cardiovascular diseases, the physician may have recommended a cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program to improve quality of life.
How does the heart get rehabilitated? What does it take to see positive results?
An effective program will help you comfortably resume day-to-day activities without overstressing the heart over time. It manages or lowers risks of heart attacks and problems for the future. You might live a longer, healthier life.
An example of a cardiac rehabilitation is tailored to the patient’s medical needs and personal preferences. The program usually consist of:
- Exercise training
- Lifestyle changes
- Healthy living education
- Emotional support counseling
Several additional factors also play a role in determining the success of cardiac rehabilitation. These include your age, other health risks and diseases such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure and most importantly, your personal commitment to living more consciously.
Depending on the patient, physician and recovery plan, cardiac rehabilitation typically has three phases:
Phase 1 – Inpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation
The road to recovery begins immediately after treatment or surgery. An inpatient programme includes:
- Preventive care from other health and medical complications while on bed-rest.
- Providing assistance and guidance for you to safely perform everyday activities.
- Counseling support to reduce stress and gain back confidence in personal abilities.
- Lifestyle change education you must make such as diet and exercise in order to manage risk of future heart problems.
Phase 2 – Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation
Upon leaving the hospital, rehabilitation is to be strictly observed for at least 8-12 weeks.
- Close monitoring of exercise activities by health specialists, in particular the frequencies and difficulty levels.
- Continued support for emotional wellbeing and stress management.
- Continued education for positive and prolonged lifestyle changes.
Phase 3 – Long Term Cardiac Rehabilitation
Once you are comfortable with continuing the program on your own, and are cleared medically, rehabilitation continues for the long term. The goal is to eventually adopt these changes as your natural lifestyle. By regularly keeping a balanced and healthy diet, exercising within your physical limit, quitting smoking, and keeping up with the necessary medical checkups, the process becomes less work and more habitual.
It is often assumed that those with heart problems should refrain from exercising. This, in fact, is not true. With guidance and monitoring by physicians, patients can exercise regularly to maintain a healthy heart. The key is to know your personal limit. For those who are healthy or want to take preventive measures, regular exercise of at least 15 minutes a day is the minimum recommendation. You can take up swimming, tennis, track, yoga, spinning and other activities. Why not make exercise your lifestyle today?