I am
What is cardiac rehab?
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is proven to keep you out of hospital and reduce your risk of death from heart conditions.

Key takeaways

  • Cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab) is a program that helps you make healthy lifestyle changes.  
  • It involves support, exercise and education to help strengthen your heart. 
  • It’s safe and comfortable for people of all ages and fitness levels. 
  • A team of health professionals create a tailored physical activity program to suit your needs. 
  • It’s important to continue your healthy lifestyle changes after you’ve finished your program. 
3 min read
Cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab) is a program of support, exercise and education that’s led by health professionals and personalised to strengthen your heart. It helps you make long-term lifestyle changes so you can live a longer, healthier life. 

It helps your recovery after a heart event, procedure or the diagnosis of a heart condition. Cardiac rehab also helps lower your chances of having heart problems in the future. 

Cardiac rehab is proven to keep you out of hospital and reduce your risk of death from heart conditions.  

Cardiac rehab usually starts in hospital, but continues after you’ve left, either at home or in another location, such as a community centre. It often runs for 6 to 10 weeks, depending on your program and your health condition.  

Programs can be: 
 
  • Face-to-face 
  • Over the telephone 
  • On the internet 
  • In a group or one-on-one 
  • In hospitals, community centres or clinics 
  • In your home. 

As cardiac rehab often involves physical activity and exercise to improve heart health, it can sometimes be daunting. Don’t worry if you find some exercises challenging or have never done them before. An expert will give you safe exercises to suit your ability. 

Through a cardiac rehab program, you’ll be better able to return to your usual activities, such as working, driving or having sex. 

Is cardiac rehab for you? 

Cardiac rehab is recommended for you if you’ve had:
 
  • Coronary heart disease 
  • A heart attack or admission for angina  
  • A stent procedure or heart surgery (bypass, valve or artery surgery) 
  • Heart failure and cardiomyopathy 
  • Heart transplant 
  • A device insertion, for example a pacemaker or implanted defibrillator 
  • A cardiac arrest 
  • In-heart electrical rhythm problems, such as atrial fibrillation 
  • High blood pressure in your lungs (pulmonary hypertension) 
  • A stroke or mini stroke (TIA) 
  • An event (stent, PCI, CAGS). 
Each cardiac rehab service will have its own areas of specialty. For example, some support atrial fibrillation patients while others don’t.

To find out which program is best for you, speak to your healthcare team or contact your local cardiac rehab program. To find your closest cardiac rehab service, use the Heart Foundation’s Cardiac Services Directory.  

More about cardiac rehab

Finding a cardiac rehab program

You can find a cardiac rehab program by asking the hospital staff or your doctor. They’ll help you enrol in a program near you.  

Alternatively, search our Cardiac Services Directory, or contact our Heart Foundation Helpline on 13 11 12.  


Find a program near you

You might also be interested in

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Cardiac arrest at 26: adjusting to a new ‘normal’

Action Plans

Action Plans

Action Plans

Recovery is a long journey, so having a plan makes a huge difference. Using an action plan gives you a step-by-step guide to improving your lifestyle....

Alcohol action plan

Alcohol action plan

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Driving and travelling after a heart attack

Explore our guide for driving and heart attack recovery. ...

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

From diagnosis at 37 to heart surgery, rehab and now

Claude Lam, Open heart surgery survivor...

Blood pressure action plan

Blood pressure action plan

Key steps that can help you manage your blood pressure....

Feelings and emotions after a heart attack

Feelings and emotions after a heart attack

Feelings and emotions after a heart attack

This is a guide to how you might be feeling after a heart attack. ...

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Emma shares her story and opens up about her emotional struggles....

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

This cardiac services directory presents information on cardiac rehab programs offered across Australia....

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Sorting out your finances after a heart attack

Explore how to manage your financial concerns after a heart attack. ...

Research Directory

Research Directory

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

MyMarathon

The fundraising race where you set the pace. Run, jog or walk MyMarathon at your own pace during October....

Meatloaf

Meatloaf

40-50 minutes
Serves 6

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Have an easy and delicious start to your day. Get your free copy now....

Do you have a Heart Story to share?

Do you have a Heart Story to share?

Do you have a Heart Story to share?

Sharing your story could help another Australian just like you to overcome their heart challenges...

Health Professional Ambassador Program

Health Professional Ambassador Program

Health Professional Ambassador Program

Would you like to improve the cardiovascular health of your patients?...

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Smart Heart Guidelines App

Access to Australian heart disease guidelines is now free at your fingertips...

Fruit and nut muesli

Fruit and nut muesli

Fruit and nut muesli

Physical activity resources for patients and consumers

Physical activity resources for patients and consumers

Physical activity information for professionals...

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's heart stories

Women's stories from around Australia...

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management clinical information and resources

Lipid management resources for health professionals...

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Beef recipes

Find heart healthy beef recipes....

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the broad term for conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. ...

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

What is cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is proven to keep you out of hospital and reduce your risk of death from heart conditions....

Chicken fajitas

Chicken fajitas

20 minutes
Serves 4

Sodium and salt converter

Sodium and salt converter

Convert the sodium listed on food products into grams of salt or vice versa. ...

Italian recipes

Italian recipes

Italian recipes

Find heart healthy Italian recipes....

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Physical activity after a heart attack

Discover what you need to know about being active after a heart attack....

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Help others in need through a gift in your Will

Ian “did not hesitate” to leave 100% of his estate to the Heart Foundation....

Donate to the Heart Foundation

Donate to the Heart Foundation

Donate to the Heart Foundation

Every dollar that you donate will help fund research, support and programs that help save lives....

For Professionals: Coronary artery calcium scoring

For Professionals: Coronary artery calcium scoring

The National Heart Foundation of Australia Position Statement: Coronary artery calcium scoring for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in Australia.¹...

Nutrition Resources for Patients

Nutrition Resources for Patients

Nutrition Resources for Patients

Resources to help people follow a heart healthy eating pattern in their daily lives. ...

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Heart Foundation Walking

Learn more about Heart Foundation Walking and find your local walking group....

Our Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports

Our Annual Reports

Discover our Annual reports from 2013 onwards. ...

Green power smoothie

Green power smoothie

Green power smoothie

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation Recovery Support and Resources

Heart Foundation programs and resources to support your recovery....

Loaded veggie shepherds pie

Loaded veggie shepherds pie

Loaded veggie shepherds pie

1 hour
Serves Serves 4 (as a main meal)

Finding support and connection after a heart attack: Nicola Surbevski’s heart story

Finding support and connection after a heart attack: Nicola Surbevski’s heart story

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)

Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)

Clinical information and links to SCAD resources....