Cardiac rehabilitation helps build healthy lifestyles

program designed to get heart back in shape

Special to the Herald-LeaderFebruary 11, 2013 

For Central Baptist Health Column

SUBMITTED

Whether you have experienced a cardiac event or not, the way you live your life can play a big part in keeping your heart healthy.

Medically supervised cardiac rehabilitation services help develop a healthier lifestyle whether you are trying to reduce your risks for heart disease or recovering from a recent cardiac event.

Cardiac rehab is an individualized, step-by-step program designed to get your heart back in shape and improve your overall quality of life. This multi-step process involves a collaborative team approach of physicians, registered nurses, exercise physiologists and dietitians.

Most people think cardiac rehab is like a trip to the fitness center for a good workout. Actually, that's only one component of the program.

Exercise sessions are combined with educational classes to help rebuild strength, endurance, emotional well-being and self-confidence.

Cardiac rehab staff members, in collaboration with your physician, are there to assist you in learning how to live a healthier lifestyle such as making wiser food choices, coping with stress, managing your diabetes and even quitting smoking.

Cardiac rehab programs have multiple phases. Phase I occurs during your hospitalization following a cardiac event. Phase II typically consists of monitored exercise sessions three times per week. Each session includes warm-up stretches, 30-40 minutes of cardiovascular activity and cool-down stretches. During the Phase II exercise sessions, your blood pressure will be monitored and an EKG will record your heart rates and rhythms. Phase II is 8-12 weeks in length depending on your progress. Phase III & IV assist in the transition to an independent exercise routine.

Regardless of your health status, an individualized plan of care is developed that is appropriate for you to return to your normal activities. By building strength and endurance, you can safely and effectively overcome some of the complications associated with certain types of heart disease.

Cardiac rehab may require a physician referral. Depending on your diagnosis, cardiac rehab is covered by most insurance companies including Medicare. Contact your physician today if you feel cardiac rehab would be a benefit to you.

Melanie Collins is director of Cardiac Rehabilitation Services at Baptist Health Lexington.

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