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Introduction to Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation

 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:

  • Registered Kinesiologists
  • Social Worker
  • Registered Nurse
  • Cardiologists
  • Dietitian
  • Administrative staff
  • Dedicated Volunteers.


Southlake follows the Cardiac Care Network of Ontario Standards for the Provision of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation


Why is participating in the program so important?

• Cardiovascular rehabilitation reinforces and builds on treatments you received in hospital.

• Cardiovascular disease 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.

   heart for intro

What activities can I safely participate in before starting the program?

• If you have had cardiac surgery, follow the guidelines in your surgery discharge package.

• 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.


activities CPR


 What do I do if I have angina?

If you feel angina during activity:

  • Slow down and gradually stop activity over a couple of minutes.
  • 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?

  FAST signs of stroke  


Exercise at the program

  Rehab volunteers 02

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 with your exercise therapist.


Should I change my diet?   

We will 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 to you.

Increase fibre: Eat more whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, and rice, and eat seven servings of fruit and vegetables per day.

Increase healthy 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 labels: 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.


Vegetables CPR



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 appointments.

• 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.

Click here for  your first appointments

Click here for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation

Click here for Cardiac Departments

Click Here for Cardiac Services


Southlake Regional Health Centre
596 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario   L3Y 2P9
Tel: 905-895-4521   |   TTY: 905-952-3062
Copyright © 2012 Southlake Regional Health Centre