Your Guide to Preparing for Cardiac Rehab

April 12, 2022 1:35 pm Published by

Strong Heart

When you have a health condition impacting your heart, you naturally have lots of questions and concerns on your mind. As you recover after a cardiac event or a surgical procedure, your medical team may recommend cardiac rehab, a program supervised by medical professionals designed to strengthen cardiovascular wellness after a heart complication.

What Is Cardiac Rehab?

When you think about rehabilitation, physical therapy may come to mind. That type of rehab is designed to help your joints and muscles work together again after an injury or surgery.

Cardiac rehabilitation is a little different, but it follows the same underlying principle. Ultimately, cardiac rehab specialists are here to help patients with heart conditions ease back into normal life while protecting their hearts.

Cardiac rehab is a highly specialized program that involves multiple components, including medically supervised exercise training and guidance, education related to a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle habits, and other elements such as smoking cessation and stress management.

The exercise component of cardiac rehab is carefully monitored to ensure that patients can resume physical activity in a safe way. During supervised physical activity, the medical team keeps an eye on how a patient is breathing and how the heart is functioning.

How Can I Prepare for Cardiac Rehab?

For cardiac rehab to be most effective in helping you recover, you’ll need to be an active participant. While there’s no need to prepare ahead of time, go into your first cardiac rehab sessions with some basics in mind:

  • Get ready to learn. Your cardiac rehab team will offer guidance related to getting your heart healthy and keeping it that way. Pay careful attention as they guide you through exercises and healthy living tips.
  • Ask questions. If anything is unclear or you have concerns, don’t hesitate to ask as many questions as necessary.
  • Stick with the plan. Your cardiac rehab team will share goals with you, including slowly increasing your physical activity. Be sure you’re following their guidance as prescribed.

Are There Different Phases of Cardiac Rehab?

Cardiac rehabilitation is typically a three-month program performed in sessions several times each week. As you go through the cardiac rehab program, you’ll progress through several phases—as many as four, depending on the program.

The first phase begins while you’re still in the hospital. As you recover and stabilize, your medical team will teach you about heart health risk factors and offer basic information about healthy lifestyle habits, such as a heart-healthy diet. They’ll also ease you into very simple exercises and movements to promote healing and strengthen your heart.

Once you’ve been discharged from the hospital, you may progress to the second phase. This stage of cardiac rehab focuses on strengthening the heart. It involves sessions of medically supervised exercise to help you comfortably return to physical activity.

In the third phase, you’ll continue with many of the same activities as in phase two, but the program will be more self-directed. Phase four is focused on independent exercise, including exercises you can perform in the home as you continue to recover.


When your heart is at stake, you want the best possible care. Magnolia Regional Health Center offers a comprehensive Cardiovascular/Cardiothoracic Program, including diagnostic tools, surgical intervention and post-surgical cardiac rehabilitation.

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This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center

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