Exercising after heart surgery

Patient Using Treadmill In Hospital Physiotherapy Department

 Your best bet for a getting a personalized answer to this question is to attend cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised, customized exercise and lifestyle education program that helps people recover after a heart attack or heart surgery. It can also be useful for people with heart failure or peripheral artery disease (blockages in the leg arteries) and after other heart surgeries (such as a valve replacement) and angioplasty and stent procedures. Most cardiac rehab programs include hourlong sessions two to three times a week for 12 weeks. Medicare covers cardiac rehab, as do most health insurance plans.

Cardiac rehab is worthwhile even if you were exercising regularly before your bypass surgery. It’s even more important for people who’ve never exercised much at all, since it can inspire and jump-start a physical activity routine.

In addition to monitored exercise, many cardiac rehab programs offer personalized nutrition counseling, potentially including a family member who helps prepare your meals. Some cardiac rehab programs even offer training in techniques for relaxation and stress reduction.

At first, you will have a thorough exam and assessment for future heart problems, followed by testing to determine a safe exercise plan for your particular situation. The exercise typically includes walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bicycle, along with light stretching and weight training. The staff will monitor your blood pressure and heart rate and determine your target heart rate. This number gives you a general idea of how hard you should exercise to reap cardiovascular benefits. Once you have successfully completed the program, you should be able to gradually work up to your previous fitness level (or even higher, if appropriate).

Sometimes, people need to keep their heart rate under a preset target to lessen the likelihood that an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) will occur during exercise. This may occur after a heart attack or heart surgery, especially in people who develop heart muscle abnormalities or those who have severe heart valve problems, heart failure, or poorly controlled heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation.

If your doctor has not recommended cardiac rehab, seek out a program in your area and ask the program to contact your doctor for the referral. Check the online directory of cardiac rehab programs maintained by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (www.aacvpr.org).

Bible verses for today’s meditation and inspiration: Matthew E. McLaren

Acts 4:18-31 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”     

2 Chronicles 25:19 “You said, ‘Behold, you have defeated Edom.’ And your heart has become proud in boasting. Now stay at home; for why should you provoke trouble so that you, even you, would fall and Judah with you?”

1 Samuel 2:3 “Boast no more so very proudly, Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; For the LORD is a God of knowledge, And with Him actions are weighed.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.

Proverbs 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

Micah 2:3 Therefore thus says the LORD, “Behold, I am planning against this family a calamity From which you cannot remove your necks; And you will not walk haughtily, For it will be an evil time.

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