What To Expect Of Your Cardiac Rehabilitation Plan

If you've been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or you've had heart surgery, your cardiologist is going to work with you to develop a fitness plan to help you gradually increase your activity levels through a monitored and measured rehabilitation program. Cardiac rehabilitation typically takes place either in the hospital or in a cardiovascular fitness center. Here's a look at what you can expect from your new cardiac exercise plan.

Developing a Fitness Plan

The very first stage of your cardiovascular rehabilitation will be a thorough fitness evaluation to determine your current fitness level. This is essential, because it builds the foundation of your safe exercise range. From there, your fitness plan will be established with the necessary. Depending on your condition, you be limited to flexibility exercises to maintain your muscles, or you may have aerobic and strength-training exercises as well.

Your cardiologist and your cardiac rehabilitation team will then provide you with a detailed written plan that includes the exercises you're expected to do as well as detailed information about each one. This ensures that you know how to do them correctly and safely. You might also want to develop a workout journal so that you can keep track of what exercises you did, how you feel and any side effects or problems you might notice.

Understanding the Aerobic Expectations

If your cardiovascular system is healthy enough, part of your plan may include aerobic exercises a couple of times a week. In those cases, your plan will probably also recommend that your aerobics be completed on a specific type of equipment. For example, if you underwent a chest-located surgery, you may be advised to spend your aerobic time walking, using a stair climber or riding a bicycle. Equipment such as rowing machines and elliptical walkers aren't the best options in that case. The goal is to gradually improve your cardiovascular strength and capacity, not to stress your system.

Building Muscle Strength

Your fitness plan is likely to also include muscle strengthening exercises that you should complete a few times every week. Sometimes, this includes using resistance bands, light hand weights and similar exercises. As you progress through your rehabilitation and build more strength, the equipment you use for your strength training will change. Make sure you read the detailed instructions including how many repetitions and how may sets are required. It's important to follow those guidelines, even if you feel like you could do more.

Improving Your Flexibility

The core strength of your muscles will be dependent on the ability of those muscles to complete full ranges of motion. Stretches are performed before you start your exercise routine to help loosen your muscles and increase their range of motion. After the workout routine, you'll want to stretch again to help keep your muscles from tightening up in response to the activity. You'll have detailed instructions for each stretch that your cardiologist and care team want you to do, and those stretches should get easier over time as your flexibility improves.

Talk with a specialist like Henrico Cardiology Associates about a fitness plan that's safe for you.