Should I Join a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program?

cardiac rehabilitation

Photo by Robert Knechke on Adobe Stock.

If you have suffered or know someone who suffers from cardiovascular disease and want to experience improvements physically, mentally, and socially, a cardiac rehabilitation program (CR) may be the perfect fit. This type of program aims to reverse, or better yet, completely stop the progression of cardiovascular disease.

CR programs are built on a foundation of aerobic training exercises in a classic gym setting. Because heart disease can cause fatigue and put a strain on the body’s systems, these exercises are typically low-to-moderate-intensity and provide minimal risk to the patient. A few other important components of CR are nutrition counseling, psychological support, stress management, tobacco cessation therapy, and education. All educational courses cover topics that are related to cardiovascular diseases and managing them well.

Usually, CR programs are run from a hospital or physician’s office. They consist of 2 to 3 one-hour sessions per week, and it is done for at least 36 hours total. For more extreme cases, there are more intense programs that provide patients with in-depth nutrition counseling, stress management practice, group support, and exercise training, and may require up to 72 hours to complete.

Why You Should Participate

Medical professionals strongly recommended enrollment in a CR program to help with conditions such as myocardial infarction (previous heart attack), acute coronary syndrome, angina (chest pain or pressure), heart failure, recent coronary artery stent placement, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, cardiac valve surgery, and heart transplant.

Participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program can reduce the risk of hospital readmission and cardiovascular death by 25% to 50%. Additionally, it will improve stamina, facilitate weight loss, lower bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels, and can even reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. CR promotes sustainable lifestyle changes designed to benefit the participant for life, not just for the duration of the program.

Because CR makes such a dramatic impact on health outcomes, Medicare and most other commercial health insurers provide CR coverage.

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 the cardiovascular system, which include 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!


We hope that this information on cardiac rehabilitation is useful to you.

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