What is cardiac rehabilitation exercises?

Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercises
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Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) exercises: Overview

Exercise is an important part of cardiac rehab. You may do some new exercises and may be asked to monitor yourself when you exercise.

Your rehab team will design an exercise program for you. It might range from a supervised program to an independent, self-managed program.

You will likely do aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises. For example, you may ride a stationary bike, walk on a treadmill, and do resistance training (working with weights).

You'll learn how to check your heart rate to see how hard your heart is working while you exercise. You may also learn how to find your rate of perceived exertion (RPE). This tells you how hard you are exercising.

How well do cardiac rehab exercises work?

Everyone can benefit from exercise. But if you have some type of heart problem, the benefits of exercise will be even greater than for most people. Cardiac rehab exercises help you get back and keep your physical function.

Exercise can improve your quality of life, endurance, and muscle strength. It can help you return to work as soon as possible, live a more active lifestyle, and become more independent.

Cardiac rehab exercises also can:

  • Lower your risk of dying of heart disease.
  • Lower your blood pressure.
  • Improve your cholesterol levels.
  • Help you manage diabetes.
  • Make your angina symptoms less severe and happen less often.
  • Reduce your symptoms of heart failure.
  • Help prevent a hospital stay for heart failure.
  • Help you lose weight or stay at a healthy weight.

What are the risks of cardiac rehab exercises?

Cardiac rehab programs are a safe way for people with heart problems to exercise. Your exercises will be based on your medical condition and overall health, and your rehab team will monitor you when you exercise. If you have a health problem that makes exercise unsafe, your rehab will not include exercises.

What is weight and resistance training for cardiac rehab?

Resistance training may be done with many things, including weights, elastic bands, machines, or your own body weight. Resistance training can help you get the most benefit from your cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program.

Do not start a strength-training program without discussing it with your doctor.

Your doctor can help make sure your training program is as safe as possible for you. Everyone is different. So you, your doctor, and your cardiac rehab team will create an exercise program that fits with your health risks and your fitness level.

A physical therapist or other rehab professional can carefully design and monitor a program that's right for your level of injury and fitness. They may teach you how to train with weights and will check to make sure you are exercising safely.

You might do resistance training 2 or 3 days each week. You may start with light weights. You might add more weight as you get stronger. You will likely do several different exercises that work the major muscle groups. Examples include the chest press, leg press, and biceps curl.

How can you stay safe during cardiac rehab exercises?

When you exercise, be sure that you are aware of signs and symptoms that mean you should stop exercising and contact your doctor.

Knowing how your body is responding to exercise and what physical conditions are normal for your rehab is important. Your rehab team will show you how to keep track of how you feel, what your heart rate is, and what your blood pressure is. This can help you be aware of problems while you exercise. It can also tell you how your heart is improving.

If you have any other physical or medical concerns such as the flu, a backache, or knee pain, it is best that you put off exercising until the problem passes. You should seek medical advice if you have any questions or concerns.

Your rehab team will tell you which symptoms mean you should call for help.

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