La Vie Care

Cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death globally. Every year, millions of people suffer from a heart attack, and, for many, it’s not the first indication of heart problems. Experiencing heart failure can be terrifying; however, there’s hope. Cardiac rehabilitation can strengthen your heart, possibly prevent a second heart attack, and improve your quality of life.

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is a complete program intended to help you recover from a cardiac event such as a heart attack or cardiac surgery. The goal is to strengthen the heart and reduce the risk of future heart problems or, at the very least, prevent the current condition from getting worse. On average, a cardiac rehab program can last around three months but it depends on your needs. Some programs last longer while others may be shorter.

Who needs cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab doesn’t have any age or gender limitations. The program is tailored to the needs of every individual and participants are carefully monitored by their healthcare team to make sure that the prescribed exercises don’t pose any risk. After all, the idea is to improve heart health.

While cardiac rehab really is for everyone, older adults seem less willing to join a program. Some are worried that their age or existing conditions, like arthritis, will make it impossible for them to do the exercises while a lack of access to programs and time constraints also play a role. However, cardiac rehab can help improve your body strength and make exercise easier, which will help with other chronic conditions and activities of daily living, so it’s worth investing the time and money to participate in a cardiac rehab program.

What to expect

The goal of cardiac rehab is to improve your quality of life and exercise is only a small part of a healthy heart and a healthy life. There are four components to a successful cardiac rehab program:


Exercise is important for a healthy body, and your healthcare team will create a program that suits your particular level of fitness and considers your medical history. Some of the exercises will include walking, cycling, and jogging. Occasionally, yoga may be included as some studies show that yoga is good for your heart. Don’t worry if you’ve never really exercised before – your rehab team will teach you all the proper techniques to prevent injury such as warming up before starting to exercise and cooling down afterwards.

Lifestyle education

A healthy lifestyle is important for a healthy heart and a cardiac rehab program will provide guidance on how to make important lifestyle changes, like giving up tobacco and getting enough sleep. You’ll also learn the value of a diet promoting a healthy heart and the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.

Managing your health

Along with lifestyle changes, you’ll receive guidance on how to manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels as well as managing chronic conditions like diabetes. The program also emphasizes the importance of taking prescribed and chronic medications as directed.

Emotional support

Suddenly having to adjust your lifestyle to account for a serious health problem can take time and leave you feeling depressed or anxious about your future. Along with taking care of your mental health, you’ll be taught strategies to better manage stress as too much stress is definitely not good for your heart!


A cardiac rehab program does more than just help you recover from a heart attack. Along with strengthening your body and heart, cardiac rehab can improve your overall quality of life by giving you valuable tools to better manage your lifestyle, mental and physical well-being.

You are welcome to get in touch with any of our La Vie Care facilities at www.laviecare.co.za to find out how we can assist.