Benefits from exercise are greatest when a person exercises three to six times per week, so most cardiac rehabilitation programs expect participants to attend two or three exercise sessions per week at the cardiac rehabilitation center and to supplement this with exercise at home such as walking.
Cardiac rehabilitation professionals develop an individualized exercise prescription for participants, based on information from the referring doctor. Sessions generally last around an hour and may also include education about the following:
- Nutrition and diet
- Physical activity and exercise
- Quitting smoking
- Stress management
After completing supervised monitored exercise for 24 to 36 sessions, participants are encouraged to continue with regular exercise, either at home or in their community. Many cardiac rehabilitation programs offer wellness or maintenance exercise programs for people with heart disease to continue to exercise in supervised group sessions. These programs are generally low-cost and are paid for by the individual.
Finding a cardiac rehabilitation program
To find a cardiac rehabilitation program in your area, visit the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) Program Directory.