The Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Clinic offers personalized exercise programs to assist individuals with cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease, transient ischemic attack (TIA), or minor stroke, as well as those who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease (risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol), to develop healthier lifestyles which can reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the future.
The interprofessional team provides assessment, a prescription for exercise tailored to the individual participants, and education on diet and other lifestyle changes. The team includes:
Why is participating in the program so important?
• Cardiovascular rehabilitation reinforces and builds on treatments you received in hospital.
is a chronic condition that requires
lifelong behaviour changes to manage successfully.
• Research shows participation reduces your risk of a future event by up to 25 per cent.
• A 2009 study showed a 50 per cent reduction in mortality from a second event.
You will finish the program with the tools and confidence to continue making healthy choices on your own.
What activities can I safely
participate in before
starting the program?
• If you have had cardiac surgery, follow the guidelines in your surgery
• Start out with walking
short distances (5-10 minutes) several
times per day.
• Gradually increase
the amount of time you are walking
to 30 consecutive minutes.
• Follow the talk
test rule: You should be able
to talk while you walk
without feeling out of breath.
• If you feel symptoms such as chest pain or chest discomfort
or shortness of breath, slow
down and stop.
• Do not lift anything
heavier than 10 pounds (equal to a 4L bag of milk).
Sexual activity may resume when you feel well and can climb two flights
of stairs without shortness of breath or angina.
What do I do if I have angina?
If you feel angina
Slow down and gradually
stop activity over a couple
- If you have nitroglycerine, take it (sit down when you are using it).
- Repeat nitroglycerine in 5 minutes if symptoms persist
- you may take a third spray in another 5 minutes if needed.
- If your symptoms do not resolve, call 911. DO NOT DRIVE YOURSELF TO THE HOSPITAL
What do I do if I have TIA/stroke symptoms?
Exercise at the
Our program includes once - weekly exercise sessions for 6 months.
• You will be assigned to an exercise therapist who will work with you throughout the program.
A regular exercise day and time will be provided on your preferences.
• Weekly exercise classes start with a 30-minute education session followed by 60-minutes of exercise.
• You will be responsible to record your home exercise on the provided weekly
exercise logs for review
your exercise therapist.
Should I change my diet?
provide a lot of information on diet when you come to the program. Below are areas you can focus on now. If this is too overwhelming, choose one that is important
Eat more whole-grain breads,
cereals, pasta, and rice, and eat seven
servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
fat: Eat unsaturated fats – found in a handful
of unsalted nuts, canola, or extra virgin olive oil. Eat 2-3 servings of fish (salmon, trout, herring, tuna, or sardines) per week.
Cut saturated fat: Choose low-fat
dairy products and lean meats.
Eliminate trans fat in your diet.
Limit salt: Consume 2,000 mg or less per day. Read food labels to see how much sodium is in a serving. Limit processed foods and use of condiments such as ketchup and soy sauce. Avoid adding salt to food.
Read the “nutrition facts”
labels on food. Pay attention to sodium and fat content.
Watch your portion size:
If you need to lose weight, reduce your portions, learn about appropriate serving sizes, use a smaller
plate, and avoid taking seconds.
Some of you went in to the hospital taking no medications and came out with a bag full of them. This
can be overwhelming. You may not feel the impact of the medications you are taking,
but they are working “behind the scenes” to optimize your health.
• Take your medications as prescribed.
• Take an updated list of your medications to all medical
• If you have questions, ask a healthcare professional.
• Always check with your doctor before
you discontinue a medication.
Why are medications important?
• Decrease workload of the heart.
• Prevent formation of blood clots.
• Protect heart while it heals.
• Help heart heal in the correct shape.
• Increase blood flow to heart muscle.
• Maintain a "normal" blood pressure.
• Prevent further buildup of cholesterol.
• Treat and prevent angina.