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Exercise is Medicine

Our Approach to Exercise Rehab for Heart Patients

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death globally, accounting for approximately 17.3 millions deaths annually. In New Zealand alone there are over 172,000 people living with heart disease, with 33% of deaths annually caused by CVD (Heart Foundation). Research suggests that survivors of myocardial infarction are at an increased risk of secondary events, and account for over 40% of admissions to coronary care.

Getting heart disease patients moving again has many advantages. In individuals with CVD, exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation has been shown to reduce overall, and cardiovascular mortality, and hospital admissions (<12 months follow-up). Other benefits of exercise rehabilitation in this group include:

  1. improvements in markers of cardiorespiratory fitness (e.g. peak METs and VO2max)
  2. a 20-30% reduction in all-cause mortality
  3. reductions in recurrent cardiac events
  4. improved quality of life
  5. improved blood lipid profiles and blood pressure
  6. enhanced confidence to return to physical activity post-event/intervention

But patients and medical practitioners can be nervous about how to approach exercise. Simply being more physically active is not as easy as it sounds.

  1. What type of exercise is right?
  2. How do you manage the physical limitations of the patients condition?
  3. How do you mitigate the risks associated with the condition?
  4. Will exercising be safe?
  5. Patients can’t be expected to figure this out themselves, nor can they rely on a trainer at the local gym.

At our Exercise Medicine Clinic we provide individualised and specialised exercise and lifestyle education for patients across a wide spectrum of health conditions (incl Cardio Vascular Disease) by providing

  1. specialised exercise testing
  2. exercise programming
  3. patient education in conjunction with other medical and allied health professionals (e.g we have an inhouse Dietitian).

A Clinical Exercise Physiologist (CEP) will initially conduct an interview with the patient to gain a thorough medical history so that they can devise a safe and effective exercise assessment plan. The patient will likely then undergo a form of aerobic exercise which could be either maximal or submaximal depending on what is determined the safe for that patient. The patient will also undergo a battery of muscular strength, balance, flexibility and range of motion assessments to identify key areas of physical fitness and function that need to be addressed.

This comprehensive assessment will then allow the CEP to tailor an individualised exercise programme that is both safe and effective for the patient in order to either prepare a patient for an upcoming medical procedure such as stent insertion or Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, assist recovery post-medical event or procedure and reduce the risk of secondary events or the development of co-morbidities for the patient in future.

This exercise prescription will then be supervised and monitored closely in order to ensure that the patient is performing it both safely and correctly and that it can be adjusted accordingly as necessary. We understand that many patients are nervous about returning to exercise, so this monitored programme provides them with some reassurance that they are being closely watched by someone who really understands them and their condition.

Our aim is that after they have completed a 12 week programme they are confident and capable enough to conduct their exercise by themselves.

Axis Exercise Clinic

Could your patient benefit from a prescribed and monitored exercise programme? Our specialist Exercise Clinic is the perfect solution. Not only are all our programmes tailor-made for each patient taking into consideration their condition, but they will have access to a state of the art gym and monitored exercise sessions to help them through the programme.

If this sounds like something you or your patient could benefit from, make an appointment to come in and see us.

To make an appointment call 09 521 9846