Cardiac rehabilitation focuses on lifestyle changes to improve the condition of the heart. While improving heart health can and should be done at anytime, most people learn about it after they have been diagnosed with a heart condition or after they have had heart surgery or cardiovascular surgery.
According to doctors at Penang Adventist Hospital on Penang Island, Malaysia, cardiac rehabilitation can help you recover from a heart attack or cardiac surgery, prevent future heart problems, and address risk factors which can lead to heart disease. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight or obese, being under constant stress, having diabetes, or performing limited physical activity.
There are four phases of cardiac rehabilitation. The first phase is performing basic activities as you would at home such as walking and limited stair climbing. If you are recovering from major heart surgery, then activities will include sitting up in bed and simple range-of-motion exercises.
Phase two is usually supervised at a physical therapy center on an outpatient basis which includes regular exercises, increasing activity, nutritional counseling and monitoring. Phase three and four focuses on long term lifestyle changes including diet, developing and maintaining regular exercise programs, and weight loss targets.
The goal of cardiac rehabilitation is to return the patient to an active life with a strong heart and a major reduction in risk factors that can cause heart problems in the future. Preventative health is the best way to take care of your heart and consulting your physician is the best way to start!