How does physical activity help in Rehabilitation?

                        CARDIAC REHABILITATION

If you have experienced any of the following heart conditions, physical activity is likely to be beneficial:

  • Heart attack
  • Coronary artery by-pass graft
  • Angioplasty
  • Transplant
  • Valve replacements

In some case you may need to undergo further investigations before participating in an exercise program me – for example if you have unstable angina (not controlled by medication), unstable or acute heart lfailure or a resting systolic blood pressure of more than 180mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure of more than 100mmHg.

The information in this leaflet can help you start some physical activity, but it is also recommended that you seek professional advice from a British Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase 4trained individual on how to gain the greatest benefit from your activity (see back page for contact details).


There are four phases of cardiac rehabilitation:

Phase 1- Immediately after the event in the coronary care unit. You should be given guidance on modifying risk factors in your daily lifestyle.

Phase 2- The first few weeks at home. Physical activity an important part of your rehabilitation and it needs to become a regular part of your lifestyle.

Phase 3- This consist of formal exercise -based comprehensive rehabilitation programme and usually starts 3-6 weeks after your cardiac event. It may last for anything between 6 weeks up to a year.

Phase 4- This phase concentrates on the role of long-term exercise. It doesn’t necessarily need to be supervised but periodic monitoring of symptoms, risk factors and medication by your GP or cardiac nurse advisable.

How does physical activity help in Rehabilitation?

  • Regular physical activity can improve the blood supply to the heart muscles. This helps reduce your risk of suffering from another heart attack or from experiencing irregular patterns of heart beats (arrhythmias).
  • As the heart muscles gets fitter through physical activity the heart rate and blood pressure decrease which means the heart doesn’t have to work as hard as before, for a given amount of work. This means it is less likely to become short of oxygen and if you suffer from angina you are less likely to experience symptoms or you will be ale to do more activity before experiencing the symptoms.
  • Physical activity also helps to reduce a number of other risk factors in heart disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being over weight and the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Other benefits includes reductions in the risk of several types of cancers, osteoporosis and the risk of falling.
  • It also helps reduce anxiety, depressions and stress, and improves your overall feeling of well-being as well as helping you sleep better.

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