Cardiac Rehab : Phase III Exercises You Can Do at Home
Cardiac rehabilitation is a program divided into phases, which is prescribed by a cardiologist for individuals at risk for (or following) conditions such as heart attack, bypass surgery, and other cardiac problems.
Cardiac rehab is divided into phases to be performed in order, so do not undertake phase III without first completing phases I and II. Phase III of the program is the maintenance phase, where participants begin taking active control of their condition without constant monitoring.
Understand that there are two physical components to phase III cardiac rehab, with both being fully necessary for proper conditioning–cardiovascular and strength exercises. While general recommendations for cardio activities vary depending on your overall fitness level, the most basic type of cardio training you can perform at home for phase III of cardiac rehab is brisk walking, either on a treadmill at your home, around your neighborhood, or in a park near your house.
Moderate intensity walking offers the best balance of risk versus reward for cardiac patients, as it is a relatively simple activity that can nevertheless positively improve cardiovascular health, weight levels, and other markers for cardiac disease. Aim to walk at least 30 minutes per day, five days out of the week.
If you are already in decent shape and are looking for something a bit more challenging to fulfill the cardio requirements of phase III at home, consider performing jumping jacks. Jumping jacks can elevate your heartrate rapidly while they can be performed in a relatively confined area. Perform sets of jumping jacks at a moderate pace–one minute “on,” followed by one minute “off” to challenge your body without pushing it past its limits.
Perform strength training exercises at home for the second component of phase III cardiac rehab. One of the easiest strength training exercises to perform is a plank. Perform a plank by getting on the floor in a pushup-like position on your toes and forearms.
Tighten your abdominal muscles, attempting to keep your body and torso in as straight of a line as possible. Hold this position for 30 to 45 seconds at a time, repeating for two or three sets. Gradually work your way up to holding a plank for a minute or more as your strength levels increase.
Perform incline pushups for another easy strength training exercise that you can do at home. Get in a typical pushup position, but instead of having your hands on the ground, place them on a stair or other elevated surface that is roughly 12 to 18 inches off the ground so that your body is at an elevated angle.
Perform traditional pushups in this fashion, descending until your arms form a 90-degree angle and using the muscles of your chest, triceps, and shoulders to press yourself back up. Incline pushups are an easier version of “regular” pushups, making them perfect for individuals who are attempting to get back into shape after a prolonged absence from the fitness world. Perform two or three sets of 10 to 15, working your way up to 30 or more per set over time.
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