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Strengthen Your Heart with Cardiac Rehabilitation
Heart Health

Strengthen Your Heart with Cardiac Rehabilitation

By Your Health Staff
Posted: February 23, 2023

Cardiac rehabilitation is a comprehensive program aimed at helping people recover from heart-related issues and prevent future problems.  People who have had heart attacks, heart surgeries or other heart-related issues often have physical weakness and find it difficult to do things like household chores and even walking. Cardiac rehabilitation teaches special exercises and education to help people recover and return to their normal daily activities. It also helps people understand how to care for their hearts and prevent future heart problems.

Who should participate in Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation is designed for people who have experienced heart-related events, such as a heart attack, heart surgery or other heart-related problems. It is also for people with risk factors for heart problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. People diagnosed with heart disease or those who have had a heart-related event should consider a cardiac rehabilitation program to improve their heart health and prevent future heart problems. If you have had any of the following signs or conditions, cardiac rehabilitation may be right for you:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart surgery
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Diagnosed with heart disease


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The Four Phases of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Phase 1: In the hospital

The first phase of cardiac rehabilitation usually occurs in the hospital immediately after a heart-related event, such as a heart attack or heart surgery. In this phase, patients receive medical treatment and undergo physical therapy to help recover basic functional mobility. Patients are also educated about heart health and ways to prevent future heart problems.

This phase is crucial as it sets a solid foundation for the next phases.

Phase 2: Moderate exercise in the outpatient clinic

The second phase occurs in an outpatient clinic. During this phase, patients are monitored during moderate-intensity endurance exercises, such as walking, jogging and cycling. This phase is designed to help patients increase their endurance and strength while monitoring their heart function. This phase aims to help patients reach their physical goals, improve their cardiovascular fitness and prevent future heart problems.

Phase 3: Intensive exercise in the outpatient clinic

The third phase of cardiac rehabilitation is an intensive exercise phase. During this phase, patients participate in high-intensity exercises designed to challenge their cardiovascular fitness and build strength. Patients are monitored to ensure they are not overexerting themselves.

Phase 4: At home

The fourth and final cardiac rehabilitation phase occurs at home. In this phase, patients are encouraged to continue their physical activity program at home and monitor their heart function. They are also encouraged to make healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet, managing stress and not smoking.

Your Next Step in Heart Health

Understanding how to enroll in a cardiac rehabilitation program is also important. Here are four easy steps you can take to enroll:

  1. Ask for a referral: Talk with your doctor to find out if cardiac rehabilitation is recommended for you.
  2. Enroll: With a referral to participate in cardiac rehab, call a rehabilitation center to make an appointment.
  3. After the evaluation: Set goals with your physical therapist and start your cardiac rehabilitation sessions.
  4. Keep at it: Even after you complete the program, continue exercises on your own or with your peers.

Caring for your heart properly can prevent heart problems and help you live a long, healthy life.

We encourage everyone to check in with a cardiologist or primary care doctor about their heart health and to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program if necessary.

Methodist South Outpatient Rehabilitation offers physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services for adults and pediatric patients. We are located at 1251 Wesley Drive, Suite 141, Memphis, TN 38116. You can also call us at 901-516-3726. Click here for a list of other rehabilitation locations.

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