Senior couple exercising on fitness balls with dumbbells at the UAB Med West cardiac rehab.

For those who have experienced severe heart conditions, recovery is a journey.

If you have encountered heart problems, participating in a cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program is the next step in pursuing heart health. 

People of all ages can benefit from a cardiac rehab program. That’s because cardiac rehab isn’t just for your future health, but for your quality of life now. Despite your age, it’s never too late to pursue therapy and treatment plans for your physical and emotional health.  

Thinking about pursuing rehab therapy may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some things to look for in a cardiac rehab program to see if it’s right for you.

 What should I look for in a cardiac rehab program?

  • Personalized plans. When cardiac rehab programs personalize your plan, you will be able to identify what you care about and set your own goals. Additionally, you'll be able to make any necessary adjustments to your exercise routine. Personalized plans allow your exercise to have a closer fit to you, your needs, and physical ability. 
  • Opportunities to learn. The goal of a cardiac rehab program is for you to learn why and how to reduce the risk factors that inhibit your health and lead to heart problems. When you understand your treatment plan, your medicines, exercises, and lifestyle changes, you gain freedom and control. The program's educational opportunities should teach you how to live your life in a way that pursues heart health even after you leave the cardiac rehab program. 
  • A supportive team. Learning about your physical health is a priority, but so is being surrounded by a team, like those at UAB UAB Medical West's Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, that helps you feel supported throughout your process. Studies show that stress is a critical factor in heart problems. You'll want to participate in a program that takes time to focus on your emotional needs, questions, and worries, as well as your physical needs.

How do I start with cardiac rehabilitation?

  • Ask for a referral and enroll. 

Meet with your physician and ask if they think a cardiac rehabilitation program is the right next step for you. After your physician refers you, don’t hesitate to enroll in the program and begin. 

  • Get your support system involved. 

You're not in this program alone. Your friends, family, and therapy team are all partnering with you. Your support system will help you pursue your goals, achieve heart health, and allow you to continue to live a high-quality life. Invite them into the process early so you know that you have people you can count on.

  • Plan your schedule. 

Your therapy team may make recommendations, but ultimately, when and how often you schedule your appointments is up to you. Be consistent, but don’t overcommit yourself. 


If you are interested in asking for a referral or learning more about cardiac rehabilitation, call our physician referral line at 205-996-WEST to schedule an appointment with a UAB Medical West provider. We are here to serve the communities of Hoover, Bessemer, McCalla, and Vance, and more!