Did you know that exercise is one of the most important activities for people living with a heart condition? Exercise is not only good for overall health, but it strengthens the most important muscle in your body- your heart.
To help those who are ready for exercise after a serious health event, such as a heart attack or surgery, NVRC offers a Cardiac Rehabilitation program here on the North Shore. With sessions dedicated to exercise and lifestyle change, the program not only improves a participant’s cardiovascular fitness but it also assists in preventing future heart issues.
Here are just a few ways community members benefit from this local Cardiac Rehab program:
Exercise in a safe, monitored environment
It can be daunting to try to exercise after a major health problem. How much is too much? What is safe? Participants can feel at ease when they register with the Cardiac Rehab program. With both introductory and then maintenance phases, all sessions are supervised by certified professionals to ensure participants are meeting cardiovascular and muscular fitness objectives safely. And the exercises, both aerobic and resistance, are tailored to each patient’s own physical abilities and goals.
Obtain access to heart-healthy education
As part of the program, participants also have access to education sessions related to heart disease and prevention. This can include grocery tours, nutrition lectures, medical talks, stress management workshops and more. With this new knowledge in hand, cardiovascular patients learn about risk factors and can take a more active role in their health.
Receive social support and follow-up care
Another big advantage of the program is peer support. Cardiac patients not only meet others who are dealing with similar health issues, but can connect with fellow participants who may also be apprehensive about exercise classes or gym environments. Such social support can help fight isolation and improve a patient’s psychological well-being. In fact, when the Cardiac Rehab program is complete, many participants continue to exercise and socialize together.
“I started with cardiac rehab in 2009 after having bypass surgery. Now due to a regular exercise routine I can say that I am staying a lot fitter than if I did it on my own. Having a group to exercise and socialize with has made a big difference to my life.” -Dave W.
The program also includes follow up appointments with a program nurse and exercise physiologist. A team of professionals are available to ensure patients are on the road to regaining their independence.
And the best news? Studies show that people who participate in Cardiac Rehab have a significantly reduced risk of suffering from another cardiac event. Certainly, the stress of a cardiac problem may hold people back from exercising and returning to normal activities. But with the assistance of the NVRC Cardiac Rehab program, residents living with a heart issue have the resources for a much better recovery.
About the NVRC Cardiac Rehab Program
The NVRC Cardiac Rehab Program is a collaborative effort with the Lions Gate Cardiac Rehab and Cardiometabolic Program and Vancouver Coastal Health. Offered in North Vancouver for over a decade, the program intakes approximately 350 to 400 patients a year. Prior to enrolment in any NVRC exercise classes, participants undergo a medical assessment to determine their health status.
“I think the community CR program is very important and a huge asset to the North Shore community because it provides a safe setting for heart patients to exercise. It also provides an opportunity for heart patients going through similar situations to connect. It builds confidence and helps people feel ‘normal’ again.” - Ling Pai, Lead Exercise Physiologist of the Lion's Gate Cardiac Rehab and Cardiometabolic Program
For more information on the program, please visit North Vancouver Recreation and Culture’s Health Management and Rehabilitation webpage. If you are interested in being referred to the Cardiac Rehab program, please contact your cardiologist for a referral.