Exercise is known for its wealth of health benefits. Besides helping us keep in shape, it has also been scientifically proven to lower the risk of contracting diseases. For patients who recently underwent heart surgery, engaging in exercises for the heart can also enhance the recovery of their heart function.
We ask Miss Brenda Ong, Principal Physiotherapist at Farrer Park Rehab Centre, all about cardiac rehab and how it can help heart patients on their road to recovery.
Enhancing the Recovery of Heart Function with Cardiac Rehab
Contrary to naysayers’ beliefs that heart patients should avoid exercise, it is actually essential and safe for most people to return to physical activity. What’s more important is building an activity plan with their physician and healthcare team to ensure that they are doing it properly, with the right intensity and frequency. One such program to help patients achieve normalcy is cardiac rehabilitation or cardiac rehab for short.
According to Miss Ong, cardiac rehab is a multi-disciplinary program for people who had a heart attack, heart failure and heart surgery. It is an individualized exercise training program that comes with lifestyle modification to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
“Cardiac exercises can enhance the recovery of the heart function after a heart attack and improve the mortality and morbidity of patients. The goal of the program is to help patients regain strength, prevent their condition from worsening and reduce the risks of contracting future heart problems.”
“Research have also shown that patients who have participated in this program have better quality of life, increased physical activity and reduced mortality,” said Miss Ong.
Individualized Training Program based on Patient’s Needs
Cardiac rehab exercise training program often includes aerobic, resistance or balance training. Based on the patient’s medical history and condition, therapists would develop an individualized program that caters to the patient’s specific needs to facilitate their recovery.
“At the end of the program, patients are expected to gain confidence and return to their daily activities with ease.”
Can Cardiac Rehab be done at Home?
“Cardiac rehab aims to bring about a positive lifestyle modification to patients and they should be able and willing to exercise independently after they are discharged from the program,” Miss Ong emphasized.
According to the World Health Organization, adults should clock in 150 minutes of exercise a week and cardiovascular exercises such as brisk walking, cycling and swimming is strongly recommended.