What Does Cardiac Rehab Involve?
Cardiac rehab doesn’t change your past, but it can help you improve your heart’s future. It’s a medically supervised program designed to help improve your cardiovascular health if you have experienced heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty or heart surgery. Think of cardiac rehab as three equally important parts:
- Exercise counseling and training: Exercise gets your heart pumping and your entire cardiovascular system working. You’ll learn how to get your body moving in ways that promote heart health.
- Education for heart-healthy living: Managing your risk factors, choosing good nutrition, quitting smoking…education about heart-healthy living is a key element of cardiac rehab.
- Counseling to reduce stress: Stress hurts your heart. This part of rehab helps you identify and tackle everyday sources of stress.
Cardiac Rehab is a Team Effort
You don’t need to face heart disease alone. Cardiac rehab is a team effort. It’s a medically-supervised program in which you partner with your doctors, nurses, pharmacists — plus family and friends — to take charge of the choices, lifestyle and habits that affect your heart.
You’re in the driver’s seat...but here’s what we suggest to get started:
- Ask your doctor if you are eligible for cardiac rehab.
- If you are eligible for cardiac rehab, register for a program.
- In consultation with your medical team, set some heart-health goals and create a cardiac rehab plan.
- Take an active role in your care to achieve your goals.
- Keep taking your medicines correctly.
- Call 911 if you experience new or worsening symptoms.
Dr. Basil Margolis explains what cardiac rehab is and explains why eligible patients should participate after a cardiac event.
This content was last reviewed July 2016.