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Exercise Now for Living Better Longer

Posted on January 26, 2018

For Amy Garrett, it’s not a rhetorical question.

“If you want to make it to 90, how do you want your 90s to be?” she asks. “Do you want to be still living life like you were in your 60s, 70s and 80s? If so, then I would encourage you to start now.”

Garrett, supervisor of Roane Medical Center’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program, says developing healthy lifestyles today can pay big dividends in your quality of life in your later years.

Cardiopulmonary rehab has long been recognized as the best way to get back on track after a serious heart or lung issue. The American Heart Association says cardiopulmonary rehab programs can stabilize, slow or even reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease. Pulmonary rehabilitation, which aids patients with such lung issues as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), cancer and emphysema, can decrease the symptoms of your disease and increase your ability to function with less shortness of breath.

But you don’t have to have a heart or lung issue to participate in Roane Medical Center’s cardiopulmonary program. “We’re open to anyone,” said Garrett. “I’ve got people who come here and exercise in the maintenance program, and none have heart issues. They just come because we have medical staff here, and individual exercises are set up for them just like they would if they went to a gym.”

Price of the maintenance program varies from $30 to $50 a month, depending on how many days you want to come. But with that fee comes specialized therapists who offer professional guidance with a personal touch tailored to safely maximize your recovery or maintain your health.

Oxygen level, heart rate and blood pressure are closely monitored during each workout for recovering heart or lung patients enrolled in “Phase 2” of the program and as needed in the maintenance program. In the unlikely event that a complication or concern arises, immediate help is available as the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation unit is in our Professional Office Building adjacent to the hospital.

Referrals are not required, but your doctor must give their OK to participate. Progress reports are regularly sent to heart or lung patients still in Phase 2, but only as necessary for those in the maintenance phase.

Garrett says even the 90-year-olds who work out two to three days a week continue to reap health benefits from the program. “It’s more than the exercise,” she said. “Even if they don’t do a lot of high intensity stuff, just the moving of the body is good for them. It keeps the heart and mind strengthened so it’s two-fold. It helps keep you healthy, decreases stress and strain and they build a lot of friendships. It keeps them very much young at heart, and I think they keep us young at heart as well because we laugh so much here, and laughter really is the best medicine.”

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