February 12, 2015 9:29 pm

Heart health: Why more doctors are writing prescriptions for exercise


CALGARY – Until last year, Lynn Morin thought she was doing everything right.  The 63-year-old had been exercising regularly for decades, then in September she suffered a mild heart attack.

“I’ve exercised since I was about 40, but not as hard and as strong as I really should have,” she explained.

Morin was diagnosed with coronary artery disease, treated and given a prescription to exercise.

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“We do a prescribed exercise program that is a 12-week exercise program after a patient has had a cardiovascular event,” said Dr. Sandeep Aggarural, the medical program director for Total Cardiology.  The private company has operated the province’s cardio rehabilitation program since 2008 as a contracted service to Alberta Health Services.

Research has shown patients who participate in the 12-week program are 50 per cent less likely to suffer a second cardiac event.

“Exercise is medicine, it’s truly a multi-purpose pill that should be prescribed to everyone in one form or another,” said Tyler Threlfall, Total Cardiology’s clinical exercise supervisor.

For heart health, the Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week. Examples of moderate exercise include a brisk walk or a bike ride; forms of vigorous exercise include jogging, aerobics or hockey.

“If you’re exercising and you can just barely speak a sentence, you’re probably exercising the right amount,” said Dr. Aggarural. But doing too much, too quickly could be dangerous.  Aggarural said anyone who has been sedentary for a long period of time should talk to a doctor about how to safely begin a regular exercise routine.

This article is not written or edited by Global News. The author is solely responsible for the content. © Heather Yourex-West, 2015

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