Resources

What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation is a program for people with heart conditions. It teaches you how to manage your heart condition and focuses on fitness, nutrition, weight management, blood pressure, cholesterol, stress reduction, diabetes, and smoking. 

Be Active!

Being active can improve your health by helping you maintain a healthy weight, improving strength, stamina and mood, and preventing the progression of heart disease. Doctors recommend that people get at least 150 minutes/week of physical activity. Some ways to help you reach this goal include:
  
- Adding physical activity to your daily schedule
- Finding a fitness buddy, like a family member or friend, to be active with you
- Using the stairs instead of the elevator
- Trying a fitness video or video game
- Taking a walk in your neighborhood or at a local mall/shopping center
- Joining a gym
- Riding a bike
- Getting an arm pedal exerciser to use on a table at home
- Going to a community pool
- Dancing
- Marching in place while watching TV

Nutrition

Maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of staying healthy. To maintain your weight, you would have to consume about 2000 calories per day on average. However, you would need to eat fewer calories per day to lose weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and improve blood sugar.
  
Here are a few tips that apply to everyone:
  
- eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
- limit portion sizes
- reduce salt intake
- minimize sugar-sweetened beverages like sodas and juices
- avoid high fat foods
  
A healthy diet can reduce your risk for future heart problems!

Blood Pressure

For most people with heart conditions, it is important to keep blood pressure below 140/90. This can be achieved by not only taking medications but also by participating in healthy behaviors, like exercising regularly, limiting salt intake, or limiting alcohol consumption. 

Cholesterol 

There are different kinds of cholesterol in your body. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is better known as "bad cholesterol," while high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is thought of as "good cholesterol." Talk to your doctor about how to better manage your cholesterol, if necessary.   

Smoking

Research has shown that non-smokers will live longer and be less likely to have a heart attack. If you smoke, consider quitting

Diabetes

Many health providers routinely check for diabetes in their patients with heart disease. Diabetes can increase your risk of having heart disease, so if you have diabetes, monitor your blood glucose levels regularly. 

Mood

A large part of staying healthy involves maintaining your psychological and social well-being. Positive emotions are associated with lower risks of morbidity and mortality. 
  
Notice positive events, like nice interactions with others or pleasant experiences with nature. Savor these moments and enjoy small pleasures. 
  
Take time to think about the things in your life that you are grateful for, especially things that you may not otherwise notice. Gratitutde can strengthen social ties and increase feelings of self-worth. 
  
Be mindful: pay attention non-judgementally in the present moment. This can help make bad things feel less overwhelming. 
  
How you think about events can make them feel stressful, relaxing, or meaningful. Try to think about negative situations in more positive ways. Think of silver linings. 
  
It can also be helpful to think about our personal strengths; just reminding yourself of your strengths can help motivate you to accomplish what you want to do. 
  
Set attainable goals for yourself. Accomplishing these goals will help you exerpeience positive empotions and reduce stress. 
  
Try to do something nice for someone else - a friend, family member, or stranger.  

Links

-- American Heart Association 
-- Heart Healthy Toolbox
-- American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation