Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Ottawa Heart Institute: recommendations for exercising safely at home.

It is now three months from the date of my heart attack. And today I received a personalised handout from my personal physiotherapist of the Ottawa heart Institute. I have been attending the Heart Institute's rehabilitation program twice weekly, and today was the beginning of my third week. Initially I had to warm up with ten minutes of slow walking, walk briskly for 30 minutes and then cool down for ten. Last week, I asked to have official permission to jog, and was allowed to do so, for five supervised minutes, with heart rates taken before I started and during the jog via my heart rate monitor. I kept my heart rate below 120 beats per minute as advised. My blood pressure readings were fine.

Today, the results of the stress test I had taken two weeks ago were in the hands of the physio therapist. "John, you have a very good exercise capacity. However changes during the test show lack of oxygen to the heart muscle at heart rate 146. You need to keep exercise intensity below this level for safety."

To exercise safely, I am advised to have 10 -15 minutes of warm up (a slow walk and stretching) followed by 30 -60 minutes of conditioning, and then 10 - 15 minutes of cool down (walking and stretching.)

For the conditioning sessions, these are recommended for 5 -7 times per week, with a target heart rate between 120 and 135 beats per minute. To do this I can walk-jog at a pace of 4 - 5.5 miles per hour, approximately 12 minute miles. My Garmin Forerunner keeps a note of my heart rate as well as telling me my average pace rate. It has proven to be a wise investment made a couple of weeks before the heart attack.

Given this program, I will be allowed to take part in training through the Running Room for a 10 km run, with the training beginning in late October following the completion of my current walking program.

I may be called back to talk to my cardiologist concerning the reduced oxygen intake when my heart rate exceeds 146. But overall, I am very pleased with my progress. Indeed during today's exercise class at the Heart Institute I ran for 30 minutes and succeeded in keeping my heart rate within the parameters I have been given, all with no ill effects.

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