MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- For those who have experienced a heart attack, heart disease or undergone a heart transplant, readjusting to normal life can be a difficult, even frightening process. However, thanks to Northern Westchester Hospital's Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, those given new life can learn to stay active—safely.
NWH's Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is a medically-supervised, individualized program of exercise and education that helps patients with a heart condition gain strength and stamina in a low-stress setting. Unlike visiting a regular gym, the program requires a physician prescription for admission and is tailored to meet a patient's unique rehabilitation needs. In addition to 36 personalized sessions, patients have access to a variety of additional outpatient services including nutrition counseling, relaxation sessions and educational workshops.
In many cases, the psychological benefits of the program are as important as the physical ones. "Some patients are initially afraid to do anything,” said Lisa Leone, exercise physiologist and clinical education specialist at NWH. “A pain in the chest area makes them terrified another cardiac event is happening. They’re afraid to work, to drive and to leave the area where their doctors practice.” Overcoming that fear, she said, is instrumental in the road to recovery.
“Walking uphill on a treadmill, riding a bike or using a rowing machine which they’ve never done gives them great confidence,” explained Jenna Angelucci, an exercise physiologist at Northern Westchester Hospital.
For some patients, the cardiac rehabilitation program serves as a stepping stone for further stamina building at the hospital. "After graduating the Cardiac Rehab Center, I continued with the cardiac wellness program," said Father Clark, a heart transplant patient. "I want to keep my gift of this heart transplant healthy."
To hear Fr. Clark's story, watch the video above.
Visit the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center's website for more information.
To find a physician, contact Northern Westchester Hospital: 877-469-4362, or request online.