Preparing for Cardiac Rehab

When the heart has been weakened by illness, disease or surgery, it’s essential to restore its function as quickly and fully as possible. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is with a formal cardiac rehabilitation program like the one available at River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic.

Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program designed to improve your cardiovascular health if you have experienced heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty or heart surgery. But when you need cardiac rehab, it is important that you prepare yourself for it.

How Do I Prepare for Cardiac Rehab?

The American College of Cardiology offers several tips for cardiac rehab patients to make the most out of this lifesaving program. Those tips include:

  • Get educated. Learn as much as you can about your heart health, your condition, your limits and how lifestyle changes can help you improve your heart’s function.
  • Stick with your goals. You and your cardiac rehab team will set progress goals to reach a target weight, if needed, and increase your exercise capacity. Make sure you stick with that plan to ensure the best possible success.
  • Express concerns. If any aspect of your cardiac rehab program isn’t working for you, let your team know. Cardiac rehab programs only work when participants can stick with them.

What Are the Four Phases of Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehab includes physical activity, education about healthy living and counseling to relieve stress and improve mental health. When patients begin a cardiac rehab program, they’ll complete up to four phases to have the best chance at improving their heart health and function:

  • Phase I—This phase begins in the hospital immediately after a patient is stabilized, and it includes education about their health issues and cardiac risk factors.
  • Phase II—This phase involves strengthening the heart and can begin before Phase I is complete. It typically lasts 10–12 weeks and includes exercise sessions and progress checkups. Our Phase II cardiac rehab program is medically monitored and supervised so patients can feel comfortable about returning to exercise and reducing their risk of future heart events.
  • Phase III—This phase involves additional exercise and educational opportunities for patients to learn more about heart health. It is more self-directed and monitored than Phase II.
  • Phase IV—After several months in Phase III, patients begin Phase IV, which includes a great focus on independent exercise.

Remote and home-based cardiac rehab programs are on the horizon, according to the American College of Cardiology.

Comprehensive Cardiac Rehab at River’s Edge

No recovery program after a heart attack, heart failure diagnosis or heart surgery is complete without a well-supervised and structured cardiac rehab program. At River’s Edge, we offer the exercise, education, counseling, support and encouragement that patients need to maximize their recoveries and strengthen their hearts.

For more information about the River’s Edge cardiac rehabilitation program or to make an appointment, call (507) 934-7310.


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