Physical Therapy Benefits for Your Heart
In the United States, February is not just the time to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We also commemorate this time of the year as American Heart Month. In the spirit of this celebration, today’s post talks about how physical therapy can benefit your cardiovascular health.
The National Center for Health Statistics reported that cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death in the country. One out of four deaths in the country is due to some form of heart disease. It’s killing more Americans than all kinds of cancer combined.
There are several different types of heart disease.
Thus, in this post, we would like to stress the importance of strengthening your heart health.
A Better Heart, A Better You
Fortunately, most types of heart disease are preventable. There are many things you can do to improve the condition of your heart. However, you are not going to see the effects of these preventative measures overnight.
The measures you have to take to prevent most types of heart disease involve making significant lifestyle changes. These changes include:
- Quitting smoking (if you are a smoker)
- Improving your diet and practicing better nutrition habits overall
- Avoiding anything that may cause you to stress or be anxious
Still, one of the most recommended ways to lessen your risk of heart disease is by leading an active lifestyle. And you can start this step by working with a physical therapist.
Even if you have experienced severe heart-related complications, customized and monitored exercises can significantly impact recovery. This also enables patients to adopt a heart-friendly lifestyle.
Improving Your Heart Health with Physical Therapy
If you have suffered from a cardiac event and are on your journey to recovery, it may be more challenging to lead an active lifestyle.
The healing that comes after this distressing incident may take some time. The good news is physical therapy can aid you in this process. On top of that, working with a physical therapist can also improve your heart’s overall condition.
Physical therapists are trained to help patients in the rehabilitation process. Their primary goal is to ensure that patients regain their strength after a disease-related health complication or injury.
If you have an ongoing cardiovascular-related issue, a physical therapist can create a personalized health and treatment plan to keep you active while you’re in the recovery process.
Starting the Rehabilitation Process
When you have suffered from a heart attack, angioplasty, heart failure, or you have had to undergo heart surgery, and it’s essential to do cardiac rehab.
This rehabilitation process is vital in making sure that they heal – both mentally and physically. Your doctor will work with you to create a personalized plan for overall treatment and wellness.
One of the specialists that you need to implement this plan is a physical therapist. You can typically get a referral from your doctor.
Consulting a physical therapist entails proper evaluation and assessment of all the related impairments you have.
These impairments and other health issues will be considered as the therapist develop your physical therapy plan.
Once it’s determined that you are eligible to undergo a cardiac rehabilitation program, that’s the next step toward your healing. However, to get the most out of the rehab process, commitment is needed from you.
You must have the dedication to ensure that you will commit the time and effort needed to start and end the rehab process.
Healing Thorough Education
When you go on your cardiac rehab journey, one of the most critical aspects is education. Physical therapy entails educating the patients on how to understand their bodies better.
The education methods that physical therapists use will include:
- Having a better understanding of why you are experiencing heart-related issues and knowing your heart’s current condition.
- Learning about the exercise procedures you can do and how to safely and effectively practice them.
- Assessing your exertion levels while being active, monitoring your heart rate, and knowing the gauges.
- Having a better understanding of what things to avoid during your cardiac rehab process – whether it is related to nutrition, activities, and other factors.
- Learning what will help you succeed in your cardiac rehab process.
- Recognizing what stressors trigger your heart, learning how to handle these stressors, and ultimately avoiding them.
- Setting realistic goals for your cardiovascular health – will give you something to be motivated and work for.
Through proper education from your physical therapist – and not just from the internet – physical therapy patients can have more confidence in their ability to heal. This mindset will also help them in their recovery journey.
By familiarizing yourself with your health condition, you know what post-recovery decisions to make to improve your overall health and maintain a healthy heart.
Cardiac-Friendly Physical Therapy Programs and Exercises
Every patient is different. Even though you have the same heart-related conditions, you will not have the exact same lifestyle, physical levels, and other essential factors.
Thus, physical therapy entails a careful assessment of the patient’s health history, lifestyle, diet, etc., before crafting a wellness and treatment plan.
When it comes to cardiac-focused physical therapy exercises that you can do, it’s best to consult with your physical therapist first.
If you’re going through cardiac rehab, the condition of your heart is most likely not in its optimum state. As such, you mustn’t overexert yourself with exercises.
This is the very reason why physical therapy is essential. It plays a significant role in the overall cardiac rehabilitation process. Your physical therapist will carefully evaluate your current condition before prescribing the correct exercises to improve your heart health.
When you work with your physical therapist throughout your cardiac rehab journey, it allows you to monitor and learn what exercises are suited for your specific situation.
Your prescribed physical therapy programs may include different exercises that focus on different aspects:
- And more
Based on your health condition, you may be recommended an independent or group physical therapy program. You may start with a one-on-one session with your physical therapist then move on to a group program.
Either way, the presence of your physical therapist throughout the whole program ensures that you are increasing your physical activity tolerance safely and effectively.
Physical Therapy to Get You Active
We all know the physical and mental benefits of regular exercises. However, getting started on it can be intimidating – even more so when you have had a heart-related complication.
Physical therapists are trained to get your body in peak condition. They also know how to do a proper evaluation of each patient’s health.
This allows them to design a therapy program that will suit the ability levels of their individual patients.
Your physical therapist can help you get active by:
- Proper assessment and diagnosis of the origin of your pain
- Creating a customized rehab program that includes an array of physical therapy approaches inpatient or outpatient therapy programs, dry-needling, the use of specific tools and machines, etc.
- Educating the patients with the correct form and posture. This ensures that the exercises are done safely and effectively.
Physical Therapy: Helping You Achieve Your Goals
Whatever your heart health goals are, your physical therapist can help you achieve them. However, you need to put in the necessary effort and commitment to stick to the program.
Getting back into a routine of strength training and cardio can be intimidating at first. However, keep in mind that it’s a vital step in recovery and preventing heart complications down the road.