Cardiac rehab was my first step to recovery after leaving the hospital. It was very beneficial. This article includes a description of what I went through during my cardiac rehab sessions.
I have a YouTube channel called “Manage Your Damage” where I talk about my recovery and living with a damaged heart and brain. Please subscribe on YouTube and like my videos so more people will see them.
I have had a difficult time writing lately because of brain injury symptoms, so I have done videos about what I’ve gone through. I transcribe the videos afterwards. It isn’t the best writing, but it’s what I can do right now.
Hello, my name is Jon Johnston. I am a heart attack survivor and brain injury survivor.
In this video, I’d like to talk to you about cardiac rehab. This is the first part of a two-part video. This video describes to what I went through in cardio rehab. The second video is what I got out of it; more of my personal experience.
I am not a medical doctor, this is not medical advice. I have to include that disclaimer. What I’m trying to do is relate to people my personal experience of heart attack recovery. Today, in this video, we’re talking about cardiac rehab.
So what is it? Well, I’ll describe to you what I did and maybe that’ll help you out. If you’re watching this, I assume you’re a heart attack survivor and you’re probably wondering, why should I go do cardiac rehab? Or what is this?
I went to cardiac rehab shortly after I left the hospital. I was in the hospital for 10 days, seven days in the ICU. I went to outpatient cardiac rehab three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The sessions lasted probably about an hour to an hour and a half apiece. They typically were scheduled for an hour and then you’d end up talking to other patients.
But I went three times a week. Each session started with putting on heart monitors. We’d walk into the room, we put on heart monitors, so that like at a central nurse’s station computer, they could monitor each one of our hearts. Then we started with five to seven minutes a warm up, that consisted of stretching and light exercise.
Then we did 40 minutes on the exercise equipment. And because they had everything supervised, you felt safe that everything was going to go okay. They typically had three types of equipment that I spent time on. You alternated between a treadmill, a stationary bike, and one of those little stepper things like you know, you step up and down on the stepper.
Two times a week, we had education sessions. The education sections were about heart-related topics. We’d spent sessions going through learning about the different parts of the heart, how the heart functions physically, the electrical function of the heart.
We learned about risk factors of heart attacks, such as smoking, stress, lack of exercise, obesity, high cholesterol history, and high blood pressure. Wow, it’s almost like I had a list of those I just read off, isn’t it?
We went through a lot of education. I thought it was very helpful. We went through dealing with the low-salt diets, and many people were required to move to a low-salt diet. We spent time on what types of ingredients, such as sodium and trans fat, were bad for us. One of the interesting things was reading labels and showing you how to read labels, on soup cans and other groceries. You discovered how much sodium was in them and you were horrified.
We went through different medicine, what they do; such as statins, blood thinners, ACE inhibitors and high blood pressure medicine. It was it was quite; I don’t want to say intense, but it was it was thorough.
One thing that we got out of cardiac rehab was called a MET score. MET stands for metabolic equivalents. What it is – it is the amount of energy it requires to complete a task by the amount of oxygen that task requires. The reason for the MET score was to kind of give you an idea of what you can do and what you should avoid.
A healthy 50-year-old man should have a capacity of at least 9.2 MET. That’s something I’ve read somewhere. My MET started (at the beginning of cardiac rehab) at around 2 and it finished up around 4 or 5. You can go out on the internet and search for MET score capabilities and find things – like I’ll never be a lumberjack, because that’s requires way too much energy and I can’t keep up with that. I can do things like have sex and mow my lawn. So there’s that for you.
Cardiac rehab, I’d say is very beneficial. It was a very beneficial part of my recovery. I really didn’t understand how beneficial it was until two or three years later, but I’ll cover that in more detail when I get to the part about my personal experience with it.
Link to an article from Johns Hopkins Medicine entitled: “Higher Fitness Linked to Reduced Risk of Death after First Heart Attack“, which includes information about MET score.