Why Cardiac Rehabilitation Is Good for Your Heart

Medically Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on February 03, 2021

Your doctor may suggest you take part in your hospital's cardiac rehab program if you have a heart condition, or had heart surgery or a heart attack. You'll get an exercise plan that's designed just for you and learn how to improve your habits, like switching to a healthier diet and quitting the tobacco habit, if you're a smoker.

A cardiac rehab program also offers you emotional support. You can meet others who are going through the same things you are and can help you stay on track to maintain a healthier heart.

What Types of Exercises Are Included in Cardiac Rehab?

You'll have a chance to do a variety of physical activities. You can cycle on a stationary bike, use a treadmill, swim, and try low-impact aerobic exercises

Who Benefits From Cardiac Rehab?

It can help you if you have or had things like:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Recent cardiac event, such as a heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Cardiac procedure, such as angioplasty or heart surgery
  • An arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm)
  • Implantable device, such as a pacemaker or defibrillator

How Can Cardiac Rehab Help Me?

There are a lot of benefits. It can improve your ability to do your daily tasks, cut the things that raise your chance of having heart disease, improve your outlook and mood, and teach you more about your disease and how to manage it.

How Do You Pick a Cardiac Rehab Program?

The best cardiac rehab programs have a variety of health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, exercise physiologists, psychologists, and dietitians. These experts can either work at the facility or be in direct contact with the staff.

A good program will study your needs and create a plan just for you.

Some questions you can ask when you're deciding which program to join:

  • Do I need a doctor's referral to enter the program? Cardiac rehab is a form of medical treatment, so a doctor's referral should be required.
  • Will my doctor get regular reports?
  • Are educational and counseling services available for me and my family?
  • Will you develop a treatment plan just for me?
  • Will a doctor supervise my exercise session?
  • Is the staff specially trained or certified in cardiac rehabilitation?
  • Are all staff members certified in CPR?
  • What are your emergency procedures?
  • What are the fees, and are they covered by insurance?

Also check to see if the clinic is close to your home and if the rehab sessions are at times that are convenient for you.

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