Cardiac Rehab: General Exercise Guidelines for Phase I
The following exercise guidelines for phase I cardiac rehab may vary
depending on your medical history, clinical status, and symptoms.
These are just guidelines: You should discuss additional physical limitations or medical issues with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Your rate of recovery depends on age, gender, and other health
conditions. Depending upon your condition and how you respond to rehab, you may
stay in a particular phase or move back and forth among the various phases.
There is no set length of time that you must stay in a specific phase.
Phase I cardiac rehab program
Phase I cardiac rehab, also called the inpatient program, happens
while you are in the hospital and emphasizes exercise and education. Because
people with heart conditions do not typically stay in the hospital for very
long, phase I programs provide you with information about returning home. Phase
I rehab usually includes:
A customized exercise program, based on your
needs, medical history, clinical condition, and symptoms.
Discharge instructions about recovery activities.
your particular condition.
Education on how to reduce your risk of
further problems with your heart.
Your hospital rehab staff should be able to provide you with
information and resources for making the transition from hospital to home,
including the phase II programs available in your community.
Phase I exercise program
A phase I cardiac rehab exercise program should progress from
initial supportive and self-care activities to regular daily walking.
Approximate length: 3 to
5 days inpatient, including transition to home-based
Physical goals: Increase appetite
and strength, increase aerobic capacity
If you have had a heart transplant or valve replacement, phase I of your cardiac rehab may take longer.
Approximate length: 1 to 2
weeks of inpatient care, including gradual transition to home-based
Physical goals: Improve appetite,
increase strength, increase lung capacity, and avoid rejection of your new
heart if you've had a heart transplant. Exercise will progress from initial
supportive and self-care activities to regular daily walking.
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.