What is cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation is a program where health professionals support you and your family or carers with your heart problems.

What happens in cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation can help you recover and get back to normal activities sooner. You'll get personalised advice to help you:

  • adopt a healthy lifestyle
  • feel more confident
  • connect with people in similar situations
  • prevent problems in the future.

You still need to see your doctor regularly while you're doing cardiac rehabilitation.

In cardiac rehabilitation sessions you can get support with:

  • learning more about your heart condition and treatment
  • getting back to your usual activities (e.g. work, driving, having sex)
  • changing your lifestyle to improve your heart health
  • managing your medicines
  • stopping smoking
  • knowing warning signs and what to do in an emergency.

You'll be able to ask questions about things that worry you, and get support if you feel stressed, anxious or depressed.

Ask if you can bring you partner or carer along. It can help them understand what you have gone through, and how they can look after themselves and support your recovery.

How cardiac rehabilitation programs work

Cardiac rehabilitation usually runs for 6 to 10 weeks. It often starts in hospital and continues when you go home. Programs can be run in different ways and places, for example: 

  • 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.

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service

Ask your hospital or doctor to refer you to a centre near you, or contact the Heart Foundation Helpline and speak to a qualified health professional.

My heart, my life resource for patients

My heart, my life provides practical advice and assistance to help you understand how to manage your heart health and lifestyle.

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My heart, my life app

A free mobile app that helps you manage your medicines and health stats like blood pressure and cholesterol. Also learn about heart attack warning signs and what to do. Download now

More information

Overview of cardiac rehabilitation

Here is a short video of cardiac rehabilitation and why it's an important component of your road to recovery following a heart event (3:05).

Freda's story about the importance of cardiac rehabilitation

Are you struggling after your heart attack? Watch this short video on Freda's story and it might help you decide if cardiac rehabilitation is right for you (4:20).

Recovering from a heart attack?

Learn more about heart attack recovery, the treatments you had in hospital and how you can recover sooner and the actions you can take. 

Learn about healthy eating and keeping active after a heart attack. 

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Find a cardiac rehabilitation service

Ask your hospital or doctor to refer you to a service near you, or contact the Heart Foundation Helpline and speak to a qualified health professional.

Heart Foundation Helpline

Heart Foundation Helpline

We are here to answer your questions. Call 13 11 12 and talk to one of our qualified heart health professionals. If you need an interpreter, call 131 450 and ask for the Heart Foundation.

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