It’s only fitting that Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Week coincides with American Heart Month. Cardiac rehab is essentially physical therapy for your heart. Patients at Community Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program took time during their therapy last week to express how the program has changed their lives for the better.

Prior to having a heart condition, most participants said it was hard to motivate themselves to exercise for 30-minutes a day. It wasn’t something that was on their daily schedules – so work and life filled the day with little to no exercise. Exercise physiologist, Julie Bauer, leads the program at CMC. She stresses the importance of making exercise part of your daily routine, just like brushing your teeth. One participant said, “It’s as important as eating each day.”

Julie creates individualized programs for each person based on their heart procedure, personal goals and background. During the program, participants receive supervised exercise with EKG monitoring and  on a variety of heart health topics Each session is focused on different topics such as managing stress, blood pressure, angina, aerobic exercise and cardiac anatomy among others and include guest speakers who discuss medication management and heart healthy nutrition. Most insurances will cover cardiac rehabilitation 3 times a week for 12-weeks.

“What makes this program unique is that the class is small so you receive individual attention and there is plenty of time to ask questions”, said one participant who had done cardiac rehab at another facility. “I also like that the educational sessions are done while we exercise so it distracts from just walking on a treadmill or riding a bike and we don’t have to come back for a separate class, it is all done at once.”

“Julie and all the guest speakers make exercise, eating healthy and lifestyle changes easy to understand.” And they all agreed that Julie, actually makes you like exercise.

A female participant expressed her gratitude for the program by saying, “This is the best part of my day.”

Don’t wait for a heart attack to make exercise and eating healthy a priority in your life. If you’re not sure where to start, contact CMC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at (406) 327-4241. They can assist with creating a personalized program for you that fits your lifestyle and any physical limitations.