A free cardiac rehab seminar will be held at Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation March 11 at 2:30 p.m. in New Milford.

Refreshments and heart healthy snacks will be served.

Dr. Jennifer L. Kolwicz, DPT, will highlight the differing diagnoses and conditions which may lead to a cardiac rehabilitation program.

Cardiac rehab is often the short-term phrase used for cardiac rehabilitation and is a medically supervised program designed to improve one’s cardiovascular health if one has experienced a wide range of heart conditions including, bypass surgery (open heart surgery), heart attack, stents

valve surgery or replacement, heart transplant, heart failure, stable angina or peripheral vascular disease.

“Cardiac rehab consists of individualized and specific exercise and education to maximize your recovery,” Kolwicz said.

“Completing physical therapy after cardiac events can improve your function mobility skills and endurance, as well as providing you with important education on attaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” she said.

Cardiac rehab most often has three equally important parts, exercise counseling and training, education for heart-healthy living and counseling to reduce stress.

Exercise gets the heart pumping and the entire cardiovascular system working.

A key element of cardiac rehab is education, including how to manage risk factors, quit smoking and make heart-healthy nutrition choices.

Stress hurts. This part of cardiac rehab helps identify and tackle everyday sources of stress.

Cardiac rehab is a team effort.

Individuals will partner with doctors, nurses, pharmacists - plus family and friends - to take charge of the choices, lifestyle and habits that affect one’s heart health.

"In 2013 it was reported by an expert medical association that only 14 to 35 percent of heart attack survivors were prescribed cardiac rehab by their doctors, even though it’s been proven for reducing deaths and increasing quality of life, over any pill and any procedure," said Dr. Daniel Forman, director of the exercise testing lab at Harvard Medical School.

“In recent years cardiac rehab has become more popular, yet some patients still don’t take advantage of the benefits,” said Dr. Kenneth Marici, geriatric specialist at New Milford Internal Medicine states,

“Those who do have a significantly different overall outcome - in many cases I’ve seen cardiac rehab programs outperform medication,” he said.

To make the most of cardiac rehab, one will need to: find out about eligibility for a program; register for a cardiac rehab program; in consultation with the medical team, set goals for the cardiac plan; work together to create a cardiac rehab plan; keep taking medicines correctly; and make sure to discuss fees and insurance coverage.

“Cardiac rehab is more than just exercise and a healthy diet,” said C. Quinn Fusco, director of nursing at Candlewood.

“It requires a thought-out plan for a successful recovery including addressing potential stressors such as depression, managing your rehab plan with a cardiac support group, understanding and managing medications, monitoring vital signs, and planning transportation for medical follow-up appointments,” she said.

For more information and RSVP, call 860-355-0971.