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Heart Disease: How Physical Therapy Can Help

If you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease or are recovering from heart surgery, your doctor will most likely prescribe a program of cardiac rehabilitation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiac rehabilitation is an important program for anyone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problem that required surgery or medical care. Cardiac rehabilitation includes:

  • Physical activity.
  • Education about healthy living, including how to eat healthy, take medicine as prescribed, and quit smoking.
  • Counseling to find ways to relieve stress and improve mental health.

A team of people may help you through cardiac rehabilitation, including your health care team, exercise and nutrition specialists, counselors, and physical therapists.

The board-certified physical therapists here at CPT help patients with heart disease by creating a custom exercise program that builds ability, strength and endurance. The benefits can include:

  • Relieving symptoms of heart problems, such as chest pain.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Improving your mood. For example, people are more likely to feel depressed after a heart attack. According to the CDC, cardiac rehabilitation can help prevent or lessen depression.
  • Increasing your energy and strength to make daily activities like carrying groceries and climbing stairs easier.

Some heart patients may be concerned about overworking this important muscle. “Exercise can be hard and scary for those new to it or who have existing heart disease,” notes an article on, a website of the American Physical Therapy Association. “Getting help from a physical therapist will ensure that you are monitored for safety when starting your exercise program. Your PT also will provide patient education and help you develop strategies for behavior change.”

At CPT we’ll work with directions from your physician and other healthcare providers to ensure you receive the rehabilitation that works best for you. Our mission is to help you protect your heart health and improve your quality of life.