cardiac rehab room at Firelands Regional Medical Center

Cardiac Rehabilitation

The purpose of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Firelands Regional Medical Center is to educate, rehabilitate, and provide a supportive environment for patients with cardiac disease. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is designed to assist patients physically, emotionally, and mentally for their return to and resumption of vocational, family, and social roles after they have had a cardiac event or cardiac interventional procedures. Our cardiac rehab staff will assist the patient and their significant other(s) in the identification and reduction of personal cardiac risk factors. Our staff will provide education about exercise, stress reduction, cardiac and anatomy, diet, medications, cardiac risk factors, etc. 

Patients are provided with an opportunity to maximize their own cardiovascular fitness by participating in a flexible, individualized, and medically supervised exercise program. The nurses in cardiac rehab will work with you to develop an individualized exercise program with respect to proper mode, intensity, duration, frequency, and progression. By participating in the exercise program, you are helping to ensure that you will be restored to your maximum functional capacity.

Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation

Many benefits result from participating in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. 

  • Gradual increased exercise tolerance.
  • Increased work capacity of the heart.
  • Decreased blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Increased self-confidence.
  • Sense of well being by reducing feelings of depression and anxiety.
  • Diet modification through nutrition classes.
  • Educational classes including stress reduction, information about body mass index, cholesterol, diabetes, strength training.
  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
  • Helps control weight.
  • Staff members are certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) to ensure a high degree of readiness and ability to handle an emergency, if necessary.

Modifying Your Risk of Heart Problems with Exercise

Your heart is a muscle. It benefits from regular exercise, just like all of the other muscles in your body. Being active also reduces stress, lowers your cholesterol, and helps you lose weight.

Regular exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing can reduce the risk of heart disease by increasing the oxygen requirements of the hart, increasing the tone of other muscles, and stimulating circulation. This type of exercise is called aerobic. Improvements in fitness result from moderate exercise 15 to 30 minutes, 5 to 7 times a week.

Aerobic activities include brisk walking, jogging or running, bicycling, climbing stairs, dancing and swimming. Discuss an exercise plan with your physician. Find an exercise class or an exercise partner to help you stay motivated. Here are some tips to help make your exercise plan a success.

  • Choose an activity you enjoy
  • Make it fun by asking a friend to join you
  • Begin exercising 5 to 10 minutes per day
  • Gradually build up to 30 minutes per day on most days. You can also reach this goal by being active for 10 minutes, three times daily
  • Plan exercise sessions in advance
  • If you experience chest pain while exercising, stop and call your doctor or 911 immediately.
  • Avoid very hot or very cold temperatures
  • Do not wear tight clothing that may restrict blood flow. The exception to this is support stockings.

Monitoring Your Exercise

Your target hart rate (THR) is the safest range of heart beats per minute during exercise. The lower number in the range is the safest rate for beginners, while the higher number would be your goal as your fitness level improved. Use this formula to calculate your THR.

220 – Your age = Maximum predicted heart rate (MHR)

Multiply your (MHR) by 50% and then by 85%

Example: 220 – 60 = 160
160 x 60% = 96
160 x 85% = 136
THR range = 96 - 136 beats per minute

Some medications, such as beta-blockers, interfere with the heart rate. Their job is to keep the heart rate lower. Many people taking these medications will never reach even the low end of their THR. In this case, follow the “talk test”. You should be able to engage in a conversation with someone if he/she is right next to you. However, you should feel like your heart and lungs are working harder than they do at rest.

Another rule to follow is that you should see at least a 20 to 30 point increase from your resting heart rate while you are exercising at your moderate to somewhat hard intensity.

Taking Your Pulse

An important aspect of exercising safely is being able to check your pulse.

  1. Find your pulse by pressing your fingers on the side of your wrist just below the wrist bone.
  2. Using a watch with a second hand, count the number of beats in 15 seconds.
  3. Multiply the number of beats in 15 seconds by 4. This is your heart rate for one minute.
  4. Example: 20 beats X 4 = 80 beats per minute

You should check your pulse before and after each exercise session. Sixty to ninety beats per minute is a normal resting pulse. Approximately five minutes after you exercise, your pulse should return to 10 to 20 beats from your pre-exercise pulse. If the heart rate is too high, this may indicate that you did too much exercise during the exercise session. You may need to slow down and work up to the fitness level that you want to be.

Exercise Guidelines 

  • Always consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program
  • If possible, walk with a friend and make sure you control the pace
  • Do not exercise if you are sick
  • Wait 1 to 2 hours after eating to exercise
  • Be sure to carry an identification card with you
  • If you have nitroglycerin, being it with you
  • Avoid exercising outside in extreme temperatures – above 80 degrees F, and below 35 degrees F, or above 75 percent humidity
  • Have a plan of action and be prepared

Stop exercising if you experience any of the following symptoms. If your symptoms are not relieved with rest, call your doctor.

  • Pain in the chest, shoulders, arms or abdomen
  • Irregular heart beat or palpitations
  • A sudden very fast heartbeat
  • Unexplained dizziness, fainting or nausea

Who Can Enroll in Cardiac Rehabilitation at Firelands Regional Medical Center?

Our cardiac rehabilitation services are best for individuals who have suffered a cardiac event, received treatment from any hospital, and now have a prescription from a physician. Most insurance companies cover the cost of the cardiac rehabilitation program, but we recommend calling your insurance company for specific details about coverage.

To schedule an orientation appointment for cardiac rehab, please call 419-557-7840. 

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