Almost 3 years ago, I completed a 12 week Cardiac Rehab Program to help strengthen my Heart. After my last Heart Ablation in September of 2016, I could not walk over 10 steps without becoming extremely out of breath. I know we have all heard the statement; Baby Steps. Well, that was almost what it seemed like in the beginning. I attended 3 – 90 minute sessions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 12 weeks. Before I move on, this class was just not for Older Folks like me. I had some young adults under 30 that had genetic Heart problems as well as a young girl that had a Major Heart Attack at the age of 28. Once I arrived at Cardiac Rehab, they always took my beginning blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels and weight. We began class with stretches of the entire body, which could last for 15 minutes. After stretching, we had different nurses or physical therapists that helped us with different exercises. In the beginning, I could only walk for 7 minutes on a treadmill at a Pace of 1.7 MPH. This sounds like I wasn’t moving much, but when the Heart doesn’t pump properly, this can be a very difficult exercise. After this, I was taking through many different machines from Bike Riding, Rowing, Elliptical and Arms. We repeated several machines throughout class. As the time was getting closer to the end, we had a 15 minute cool down which always included breathing exercise as well as learning to meditate and slow the pressure down. All patients were hooked up to Heart Monitors, some had 12 leads while others only had 5. You could actually see everyone’s vitals on monitors throughout the room. It was like being in Cardiac Care Unit with exercise equipment. As we cooled down, our pressures and pulse were taken. Everything we did was logged by with a nurse or physical therapist. The program was monitored by my Cardiologist which was great. He would come by on Friday to not only check on the class, but he always pulled me aside to see how I was coming along.
As for today, my fitness program still revolves around a lot of the stuff I learned from Cardiac Rehab. I always take time to slowly warm up my Body and Heart before heading to a Treadmill, Rowing Machine, Stationary Bike or Lifting Weights. The difference between then and now, I can exercise for nearly 90 minutes without getting extremely winded, By the way, I am also 80 lbs. smaller than when I began Cardiac Rehab. My goal is to exercise at least 4-5 days a week with little or no exceptions. This has become part of my every day life. Earlier this year, I did have a trainer with whom I worked with 3 days a week. It just got to be way too costly for me to continue with a Fitness Coach. I now rely on my adorable wife, aka “Nurse Ratchet” to keep me in check and accountable to my Heart Healthy Exercise Program and Lifestyle. I never ever CHEAT!! It’s my WILL TO LIVE.
If you are reading this Blog now, it is never too late to start. The biggest Key to a Healthy Heart requires some discipline. One, the body needs proper healthy foods, which in turn is the much needed energy to feed the Heart Muscle. Two, the body needs fluid – mainly 10-12 / 8 ounce glasses of water per day – not counting coffee, soda or alcohol. Three, limit your alcohol consumption per day, maybe have a glass of wine or 1 drink per day. Fourth, if you smoke, vape or use weed – Quit!! My mother died way too early from a massive Heart Attack at the age of 69 due to Smoking and Drinking. Fifth, get enough sleep, at least 7-8 hours per night. This is one of the hardest tasks for me, but I try to get as much sleep as possible. Last but not least, start now – don’t put off this until tomorrow. We cannot change the past nor predict the future. All we have is today – so as a Great Friend – do not be like the before me. Start Now!! Your Heart will thank you later.
Will to Live – Becoming An Example for Others – Part 95