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Cardiac Rehabilitation Moves Online

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic High Life Highland (HLH) has continued to provide support for participants of cardiac rehabilitation programmes across the Highlands.  Cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab for short) helps people get back to as full a life as possible after a cardiac event such as a heart attack, heart surgery or stent procedure. 

Throughout the pandemic support from HLH has involved personal contact by phone and email. Specialist exercise instructors have helped participants to keep well, at this time, by providing specifically tailored information such as how to exercise safely at home, as well as how to access resources on topics like eating well and how to modify risk factors.  

HLH has been working closely with colleagues in NHS Highland and in recent weeks, through close collaboration have started to pilot the delivery of live interactive online classes.  This means that people who’ve had a cardiac event are able to take part in classes with others from across Highlands.  All classes are led by an HLH exercise specialist. 

Julie Brown, HLH Cardiac Rehabilitation and Cancer Rehabilitation Exercise Specialist said “Many people have embraced online exercise classes for their physical and mental fitness during COVID-19.  It is phenomenal to be able to provide a specialist online cardiac rehabilitation exercise class during such difficult times.  Online group cardiac rehabilitation classes are having a hugely positive impact on mental wellbeing, mood and happiness as well as physical fitness. “ 

John MacDonald from Alness used to take part in cardiac rehabilitation classes in Invergordon Leisure Centre and said: “Thanks for organizing the Cardio Rehab exercises online. Live classes motivate me and are fun as well”. 

It is now well understood that if people can keep active it can significantly improve functional capacity, fitness and quality of life.  Keeping active can also help reduce the risk of ill health, disease recurrence, deterioration of condition and even acute hospital admissions whilst also helping to manage symptoms following a cardiac event.  Keeping connected is important too as some people have found the impact of the coronavirus pandemic difficult and staying in touch has been vital. 

Lesley-Ann Robertson, NHS Highland Lead Cardiac Rehab Physiotherapist at Raigmore Hospital said:  “We have been working with High Life Highland for a number of years to deliver cardiac rehabilitation for patients across the Highland area, the support not only improves people’s ability to manage the health condition but also empowers and enables people who have had a cardiac event to be independent and in control of their own lives – I am really pleased that this important support is being extended to live online classes”. 

If you’d like more information about the cardiac rehabilitation programme you can contact HLH:  [email protected]