Before you leave the hospital, a physiotherapist will give you a home exercise program. The main purpose of this program is to improve your physical function. Other benefits of regular exercise include:
- Improved endurance, fitness and energy level
- Positive effect on blood sugar control
- Lowering or maintaining blood pressure
- Improving blood cholesterol
- Managing weight
- Managing stress
- Reducing joint and muscle stiffness
- Restoring sleeping pattern
- Reducing risk of depression
Your physiotherapist has developed a physical activity program of morning exercises and daily walking for you to complete during your first few weeks following surgery. The program has been designed to help your recovery and prepare you for cardiac rehabilitation.
The day you travel home from hospital, we ask that you rest and enjoy your return home. The next day (day one at home) begin the stretch/strength exercise program that a therapist reviewed with you prior to your departure from hospital.
The following day (second full day at home) begin your walking program. The program is designed to build your endurance, and later build up your speed. It is designed for you based on your heart function, your recovery in hospital and your previous level of activity.
The goal is for you to exercise regularly for a positive lifestyle, as well as to help you return to the activities that you most enjoy (swimming, golf, gardening, etc.). In the longer term, your goal is to exercise five to seven times per week as prescribed.
This physical activity program will be changed and advanced when you start Cardiac Rehabilitation, according to your abilities and personal goals.
- Feel tired for the next few weeks
- Gradually increase your activity level
- Need frequent rest periods
Physical Activity Tips
Breathe steadily and in a relaxed manner while you exercise. Avoid straining and never hold your breath.
Pace and Intensity
Exercise at a level that allows you to maintain light conversation during the activity.
Walk on flat ground to start. If hills are unavoidable, walk more slowly when going uphill.
It is best to wait an hour or two after a meal before you exercise. This is because extra energy is required for digestion.
Avoid exercising in extreme temperatures. If it is very hot and humid, walk during the cooler part of the day such as in the morning and later at night. If it is extremely cold or windy, exercise indoors using stationary equipment such as a stationary bike or treadmill or walk in the hallways of your house/apartment or in a mall. If you do choose to exercise outdoors in colder weather, walk during warmer times of the day and cover your face with a scarf to help warm the air before it reaches your lungs.
It is important that you keep good posture. Try to keep your shoulders back and relaxed. Avoid slouching forward.
Do not cross your legs as this slows down circulation and will increase the risk of developing blood clots in your legs.
After your walks, stretch your calf muscles. They are likely to get tight as you begin to increase your daily activity.
- Stand straight close to a solid surface on which you can use your hands for balance.
- Place one leg behind the other, with both your feet pointing forward.
- Bend the knee that is forward while keeping the back knee straight until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf.
- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
Abnormal responses to exercise may include nausea, headaches, dizziness, chest pain or palpitations.
If you notice any of these, stop and rest until the symptoms decrease. If these symptoms persist, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Call the nursing coordinator at the 24-hour access number 613-696-7000, press 0 and ask to speak with the Nurse Coordinator.
Your Exercise Program
- The day you return home from the hospital, you should rest.
- The next day, do your morning exercise routine and spend the day relaxing around the house.
Your second full day at home, start your walking program:
- Take two walks of equal duration each day as prescribed.
- Walk at a pace that is brisk but allows light conversation without becoming too short of breath.
- Continue this program until you begin cardiac rehabilitation.
If you have any questions about your exercise program please call the number below and leave a message for your physiotherapist.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a program of exercise, education, and counseling that will help you to make heart-healthy living a part of your everyday life. Before you leave the hospital, please make sure you have information or an appointment with Cardiac Rehabilitation.
More information can be found on the Heart Institute website in the Cardiac Rehabilitation section. For any questions about cardiac rehabilitation, please call 613-696-7068.
Personal Health and Activity Log
Keep track of your recovery and activity in the Personal Health and Activity Log (pdf). It will help both you and your health care team see how much you have improved.
Morning Exercise Routine
Sit straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor, back supported and shoulders down.
Lift both shoulders up as high as you can, and let them relax down.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together as far back as you can, until you feel a stretch across the front of your chest.
|Neck Stretching Exercises|
Looking straight ahead, turn your head slowly to look over one shoulder as far as you can.
Keeping your head facing forward and shoulders down:
Cross your arms in front of your chest.
Sit with your back straight and hands in your lap or at your sides.
Stand straight with your arms at your sides and bend your upper body sideways.
|Heel and Toe Rock|
Stand holding onto a solid surface for support, with your feet slightly apart and knees straight.
Holding a solid surface, place your feet shoulder width apart and keep your back straight.
|Breathing Exercises While Standing|
Stand straight and put both of your hands on your right hip.
Lift your left arm up and out as high as it can go.
Stand straight with arms relaxed at your side.