What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is an important program for anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problem that required surgery or medical care.

Cardiac rehab is a supervised program that includes:

Physical activity.
Education about healthy living, including healthy eating, taking medicine as prescribed, and ways to help you quit smoking.
Counseling to find ways to relieve stress and improve mental health.

Who needs cardiac rehab?

Anyone who has had a heart problem, such as a heart attack, heart failure, or heart surgery, can benefit from cardiac rehab. Studies have found that cardiac rehab helps men and women, people of all ages, and people with mild, moderate, and severe heart problems.

How does cardiac rehab help?

Cardiac rehab can have many benefits to your health in both the short and long-term, including:

Strengthening your heart and body after a heart attack.
Relieving symptoms of heart problems, such as chest pain.
Building healthier habits, including getting more physical activity, quitting smoking, and eating a heart-healthy diet. A nutritionist or dietitian may work with you to help you limit foods with unhealthy fats and eat more fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Reducing stress.
Improving your mood. People are more likely to feel depressed after a heart attack. Cardiac rehab can help prevent and lessen depression.6
Increasing your energy and strength, making daily activities easier, such as carrying groceries and climbing stairs.
Making you more likely to take your prescribed medicines that help lower your risk for future heart problems.
Preventing future heart problems and death. Studies have found that cardiac rehab decreases the chances you will die in the five years following a heart attack or bypass surgery by around 20% to 30%.