Anne

Getting Stronger with Cardiac Rehab

After her heart attack last summer, 82-year-old Anne didn’t know what her future would hold.

But within her first five months of cardiac rehabilitation at Clara Maass Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, the Belleville resident is back to her usual activities – driving, going out with friends, doing housework – and even visiting extended family in Nebraska.

“They’re very good,” says Anne, describing the Clara Maass program. “At first I was tired. Now I feel much stronger. I love going there.”

Initially, Anne needed a walker after her heart attack. Rehab helped her progress to a cane, and then to walking without assistance.

“My head is clearer,” notes the former bookkeeper and cafeteria manager. “I was light-headed at the beginning; now that’s gone.”

Anne goes to the Clara Maass Cardiac Rehabilitation Center three days a week, where specialists provide a customized workout to strengthen her heart and help prevent future problems. She wears a monitor while exercising, so the staff can watch her heart rate, blood pressure and other vital signs.

The rehab staff provides dietary advice, so patients can make heart-healthy choices. For instance, Anne learned she needs to keep her salt intake low, because she tends to retain water – which can lead to heart problems.

Anne also likes the facility itself, which features a wide range of equipment, from stationary bicycles to rowing machines. “It’s all new, with nice, new machines. It’s really beautiful and very clean.”

But most importantly, Clara Maass’ cardiac rehab has given Anne a brighter future.

“I can do more; I can go out more,” she says. “I feel myself getting much better, week by week.”