6 Benefits of Cardiac Rehab: It's About More Than your Heart
Cardiac rehab goes far beyond strengthening your heart. Discover all the benefits this life-changing program can have. Learn more.
Chances are, you expect a cardiac rehabilitation program to center around exercises that help strengthen your heart. But cardiac rehab is so much more than that: It includes emotional counseling and support, plus education and resources to help you make lifelong heart-healthy choices.
Yes, a cardiac rehabilitation program does require a commitment. You may have as many as two to three sessions a week for 8 to 12 weeks. However, the benefits go far beyond improving your heart health.
1. Cardiac rehab helps strengthen your body
A supervised exercise program helps you safely challenge your body so you can rebuild muscle and stamina. That includes strengthening your heart, but also your entire body. After all, exercise has many physical benefits including:
- Strengthens muscles and bones
- Improves lung function (and keeps you from losing your breath so easily)
- Makes daily tasks (like climbing stairs, washing dishes, doing laundry) easier
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight
- Boosts immunity
You’ll also learn the important role diet plays in keeping your heart and body strong and healthy. A dietitian can teach you simple tips on how to inject nutrition into your favorite meals and give you advice on how to navigate the grocery store and take-out menus with confidence.
2. Cardiac rehab may lower your risk of hospital admission
No one wants to spend time in a hospital. Completing a cardiac rehabilitation program may reduce your risk of being admitted to a hospital by as much as 20%. Research also indicates that individuals who complete cardiac rehab and are admitted to the hospital tend to have a shorter length of stay.
3. Cardiac rehab may help you live longer
Regular physical activity and a healthy diet are already associated with improved longevity. That’s true for those that complete cardiac rehab, too. In fact, studies have found that cardiac rehab may reduce the risk of death in the five years after a heart attack or bypass surgery by about 35%.
4. Cardiac rehab can help relieve your symptoms
Chest pain (angina), shortness of breath and fatigue can interfere with your daily life. Cardiac rehab can help alleviate those symptoms as you build a stronger body and learn the habits you need to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
5. Cardiac rehab can help improve your quality of life
One of the most challenging aspects of living with heart disease is feeling like you’re sitting on the sidelines. Fortunately, cardiac rehabilitation can improve your quality of life and help you feel better, stronger and more confident in participating in activities you’ve missed out on before. Research has found that cardiac rehab can help:
- Reduce physical limitations
- Reduce body pain
- Improve vitality and energy
- Improve general health and wellness
6. Cardiac rehab can help improve your mood and mental health
Experiencing a heart attack or undergoing heart surgery can be a traumatic time. Cardiac rehabilitation offers the support and guidance you and your family may need to navigate that experience. And, regular exercise and a nutritious diet have also been shown to help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and boost your mood.
Cardiac rehab goes far beyond an exercise program. It’s an investment in your good health. Talk to your doctor if you think cardiac rehabilitation can help you.
Learn more about cardiac rehabilitation at Adventist HealthCare.