8 Cardiac Rehab Exercises

If you’ve experienced a cardiac event, like a heart attack or coronary artery disease diagnosis, cardiac rehab can get you back to living a healthy life. Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised exercise program where you will learn heart-healthy physical activities, eating habits and how to manage other diseases, like diabetes or high blood pressure.

While lifestyle changes can be difficult, the cardiac rehab program at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic will provide you with the support and encouragement you need to live your healthiest life yet.

Exercise Recommendations

For aerobic activity (anything that gets the heart pumping), the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity—or a combination of both per week.

For strength, try to fit in at least two days every week of some form of resistance or weight training.

For cardiac rehab exercises, you will focus on both forms of exercise, as well as stretches to maintain flexibility and mobility.

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic activity has numerous benefits for the body. It helps strengthen the heart and lungs, lowers blood pressure and reduces your risk of future cardiac events. In cardiac rehab, some top aerobic exercises are low impact, meaning they’re easy on your joints.

Aerobic cardiac rehab exercises include:

  • Cycling – There are many different indoor cycling machines, including recumbent bikes, upright stationary bicycles and dual-action bikes that have moveable handles.
  • Walking – Walking is a great way to strengthen the heart. This exercise is typically done on a treadmill.

Strength Exercises

Strength training can help with balance and coordination, as well as reduce pain and stiffness in joints.

Cardiac rehab exercises that focus on strength can include:

  • Resistance bands – Resistance bands are elastic bands of varying resistance strengths. Research indicates that resistance bands can provide similar muscle gains as traditional weights.
  • Weightlifting – This type of exercise uses weights like dumbbells, kettlebells or weight machines.
  • Calisthenics – This form of exercise uses your own body weight to provide resistance during exercise. Examples include squats, pushups and situps.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching can help avoid injury. It also helps maintain flexible mobility and prevent joint pain.

Some popular stretches in cardiac rehab include:

  • Calf stretch – Facing a wall, you will place one foot in front of you with a bent leg. Place your hands on the wall and lean forward until you feel a stretch in your back leg. Repeat on both sides.
  • Hamstring stretch – Place one foot on the heel in front of you. Lean over until you feel a stretch in the back of the leg in front. Use the wall for support if needed and repeat on both sides.
  • Quadriceps stretch – Bend your knee on one leg and bring your heel up towards your buttocks. Use your hand on the same side to help bring your foot as close to your buttocks as possible. Use the wall for support if needed and repeat on both sides.

At River’s Edge cardiac rehabilitation program, you can trust the best to feel your best. Make an appointment online or call (507) 934-7310.

Featured Services

  • person receiving physical therapy

    Physical and Occupational Therapy >

    Our physical therapists are trained to effectively rehabilitate a variety of conditions and will work with you to assess your needs and design a treatment plan to meet your therapy goals.

  • orthopedics

    OrthoEdge >

    The OrthoEdge Joint Replacement Program includes the involvement of your entire care team to help you through the joint replacement process and return you to an active lifestyle as quickly as possible.

  • doctor looking into patients throat

    Emergency Room >

    Emergency Room River’s Edge Hospital Emergency Department is a Level IV Trauma Center that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.