Heart Bypass Rehab Exercises

Cardiac rehabilitation programs, such as those prescribed for patients who have recently undergone heart bypass surgery, focus on teaching patients about the changes they need to make in their lives to avoid future heart problems. These programs are usually designed to be 12 weeks long, and sessions include information about diet, medications and especially exercise. Patients are supervised as they learn what exercises they should do, when to increase the intensity or frequency of the exercises, and warning signs that it’s time to ease off.

Stationary bike

Heart patients in rehab can expect to spend a good amount of time on a stationary bike or treadmill–usually riding or walking 30 to 60 minutes, three to five days per week. Start with some light stretching, and then an easy warm-up on the equipment before hitting your stride for the majority of your prescribed session. It’s important to listen to the rehab specialist, and make sure you know what to do when you leave the rehab program and are doing these exercises on your own.

Straight arm raises

This is a simple one, but it’s a good one to maintain flexibility and strength in your arms. Before you begin any rehab exercise, remember to breathe normally, as holding your breath can raise your blood pressure. To start, simply stand with your arms at your side and raise them in front of you until they are stretched straight overhead. Slowly bring them back down to your sides and repeat 10 times. To gradually challenge yourself, perform two sets of 10 repetitions each day, eventually adding a light hand weight or dumbbell to start toning your muscles.

Knee Bends

These tone the muscles in your thighs and strengthen your knee joints as well, but be sure not to squat down too far. With your feet a little closer together than shoulder-width, bend your knees and lower your buttocks, while keeping your back straight. Return to your starting position and repeat 10 times, and later in the day add a second set of 10 knee bends.

About this Author

James Roland is the editor of a monthly health publication that has approximately 75,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada. Previously, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, covering issues ranging from the environment and government to family matters and education. He earned a bachelor\’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.