After a cardiac procedure or event, like a heart attack, it's time to focus on recovery and adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk of another episode. Navigating these changes alone can be daunting or, for some, impossible, which is why many people choose a cardiac rehabilitation program. Like the American Heart Association says, "Cardiac rehab doesn't change your past, but it can help you improve your heart's future."
Cardiac rehabilitation is a well-rounded program featuring expertise and guidance from your team of doctors, nutritionists, physical therapists, exercise specialists, and more. You'll focus on healthy eating, appropriate exercise, and stress reduction. Cardiac rehab is not one-size-fits-all; instead, it is designed around your unique needs.
There are many reasons to complete a cardiac rehab program after your heart surgery, heart attack, or heart failure. It can help reduce your risk of another heart attack, initiate weight loss, and improve your overall fitness. Here are five important benefits of cardiac rehabilitation:
Improved Physical Work Capacity
Sometimes people don't exercise because they don't know where to start. Take advantage of your cardiac rehab and learn how to properly perform a variety of exercises. As you get stronger, you'll gradually be able to increase the intensity as guided by your therapist or trainer, and those are skills you can take with you into your gym (or your living room!).
Your heart isn't the only one reaping the benefits of exercise. Your entire body will get stronger, as well, which means...
Enhanced Ability to Perform Daily Activities
After cardiac rehab, you might find it easier to take the stairs or to carry your own groceries. Because of the work you put in for the sake of your heart, your entire body will benefit, and the activities of daily life will become easier.
And the easier they become, the more willing you are to do them! In the past, perhaps walking the dog seemed like an uncomfortable task. With your new fitness level, it becomes an enjoyable activity for both you and your pup.
One more thing: improved strength often means improved balance. As we age and our balance declines, we run the risk of dangerous falls. Improved balance and strength keeps us safer, too.
Return to Work More Quickly
Every year, about 790,000 Americans have a heart attack, and not all of those people are retired! If you need to return to your job, a rehabilitation program can help you get there sooner than if you went about recovering on your own. Your team knows when and how to help you progress and whether you're on track or need some extra assistance or a new approach.
Cardiac rehab might last about three months, depending on your needs and progress. This can all be done as a resident in a rehabilitation center, or maybe you'll do part of it in-patient and part out-patient. Either way, it will keep you on the road to recovery and focused on adopting the lifestyle changes required for lasting heart health.
Decreased Risk of Hospital Readmission
Cardiac rehab reduces death rates, and studies like this one have shown that those who participate in a rehab program are less likely to be readmitted to the hospital with a heart issue (and spend less time in the hospital if they do go). Cleveland Clinic notes:
"...patients who go to cardiac rehab after such problems have 25 to 30 percent fewer fatal heart events afterward. They also tend to lose weight, lower their cholesterol, improve their diabetes and reduce anxiety and depression."
Decreased Total Healthcare Costs
All the benefits listed above tell a story about cost, too. Avoiding hospital stays, getting back to work quickly, being stronger and more efficient when completing daily tasks, and living a healthier lifestyle (perhaps avoiding additional hospitalizations or prescriptions) all help you save money. The relatively low cost of rehabilitation becomes well worth it when you realize what it saves you in terms of time and money--and, of course, your health.
If you have any questions about cardiac rehabilitation, please contact us. Church Home LifeSpring is proud to offer short-term rehabilitation services with a focus on maximizing your recovery while minimizing the time it takes to get there. We invite you to visit our comfortable state-of-the-art rehab center to see if it's the right place your cardiac rehabilitation.