Is a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Right For You?

cardiac rehabilitation

Photo by Robert Knechke on Adobe Stock.

Most individuals who suffer from cardiovascular disease find themselves losing energy to perform day-to-day activities. To regain that energy as well as strengthen the physical, mental, and social functioning of those individuals for the long-term, a cardiac rehabilitation (CR) program may be the perfect option. CR programs are not only meant to halt or reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease, but to also provide a source of support and encouragement as patients learn about managing their own health.

CR programs are built on the foundation of aerobic exercise training that takes place in a classic gym setting. These workouts are set at a pace that is of minimal risk to the patient. Apart from physical exercise, some other components of CR include nutrition classes, psychological support, stress management, tobacco cessation counseling, and education on topics related to cardiovascular diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol.

Cardiac rehabilitation is usually based out of a hospital or physician’s office and consists of 2 to 3 one-hour sessions per week for at least 36 hours. Not every case is the same, so for those who require more attention, there are more intense CR programs. The individual may experience more rigorous nutrition counseling, stress management practice, group support, and exercise training. Because of its intensity, this type of program requires about 72 hours of commitment. Consultation with a health care professional will determine what level of care each patient needs.

Why You Should Participate

If you are living with one or more of the following conditions: any type of myocardial infarction (previous heart attack) or acute coronary syndrome over the past year, angina (chest pain or pressure), heart failure, and recent coronary artery stent placement, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, cardiac valve surgery, or heart transplant, many experts in the field of cardiology strongly recommend that you join a CR program. Your health should not have a price tag, but if affordability concerns you, Medicare and most other commercial health insurers provide CR coverage for any patients with these conditions.

It has been statistically proven that completing a cardiac rehabilitation program can reduce your risk of hospital readmission and cardiovascular death by 25% to 50%. Additionally, you will improve your stamina, lose body fat, lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels, and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. CR strives to teach healthy behaviors that will improve your quality of life not just for 36 hours, but for many years to come.

How Cardiac Rehabilitation Works

Because cardiac rehabilitation promotes sustainable lifestyle changes, it tackles the underlying causes of heart disease, treating it at the source. The pillars of CR have promising effects on the functioning of your cardiovascular system, which includes lowering inflammation, relaxing blood vessels, and reducing the risk of blood clots.

If you’re interested in participating in a CR program, contact your primary health care physician to discuss getting started. It can only help!

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About Kayla Gonzalez

Kayla is a graduate of Texas A&M University and joined the Empower Brokerage marketing team in early 2021. She creates content for the company websites and assists with various marketing campaigns. LinkedIn Profile

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