Cardiac rehabilitation (“cardiac rehab”) is a professionally supervised program designed by your health care team. It will help you recover from your heart problem and reduce your risk of future heart problems. Along with a tailored exercise program, cardiac rehab provides education and counseling to improve health.
Your cardiac rehab program may start while you’re still in the hospital. After you leave the hospital, you may go to a facility for rehab classes. You’ll regain some strength and learn how to exercise safely. Once you do that, your doctor may prescribe an exercise program for you to do at a gym or at home.
You may start light exercise within 2 days of entering the hospital.
As early as 1–2 weeks after leaving the hospital, you can join a supervised rehab program.
Exercises will be prescribed to help you build strength and movement. The first month will most likely include easier exercises. Over time, you’ll exercise harder to improve your endurance.
Your heart, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure may be monitored as you work.
Cardiac rehab programs are tailored to meet your needs. Some patients may participate in the program for six weeks while others will participate six months or longer.
Don’t stop once you’ve finished your program! Make what you learned in rehab a regular part of your life. Here are some tips:
Work out at home or at a gym. Try renting a new workout video each week. Take an exercise class. Find something that keeps you interested.
Ask family and friends to help you stay motivated.
Make other lifestyle changes to improve your heart and overall health. Quit smoking. Make changes to lower your stress. Lose excess weight. And lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.