Cardiac Rehab: What Is It?
When you are in the hospital following a heart attack, angioplasty, catheterization, bypass surgery or valve replacement, you may find yourself wondering what lies ahead and reflecting upon the reasons that brought you there.
A comprehensive cardiac rehabilitation program will help you understand the factors that might have contributed to your heart disease as well as prescribe the life changes you’ll need to get you started on the road to recovery.
Inpatient phase is the first phase of your cardiac rehab. This program can start on your first day in the hospital. It is a combined education and exercise program designed to keep your body from becoming stiff, sore or weak. Psychologically, it should turn your attention from an over-awareness of being “sick” to that of getting healthy. The program consists of walking, education and information programs. In order to participate in this program, you will need a physician’s order.
The outpatient phase of cardiac rehab is available to you four to six weeks after you have been discharged from the hospital. Again, you’ll need a physician’s referral and a GXT (graded exercise test).
Upon returning home, you may find that you and your family will have some fear and apprehension over what activities you should and should not do. Outpatient cardiac rehab is designed to help you deal with these fears and to answer your questions. Cardiac rehab should also help you develop new exercise habits for a lifetime, helping to reduce risk and preparing the body for a quicker re-entry into normal daily living. This exercise routine could include a program for walking, bicycling or other aerobic exercise designed specifically for your needs and fitness level. You will learn proper and safe warm-up and cool-down techniques, and how to monitor your perceived exertion to achieve your target heart rate.
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