LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Recovering from a heart operation typically involves exercise therapy and education that is designed to teach, support and encourage patients.
That's if you take part in cardiac rehabilitation.
The optional program helps prevent another cardiac event.
Patient Randy Pruett signed on.
These days, you can catch him running a 5K.
"Either that, or I do 45 minutes on the elliptical, which I hate. I hate the elliptical," he laughs. "But it works!"
Hate it or love it, Randy runs for his health. Especially now, after suffering a heart attack in November.
"I thought I was Superman. I didn't think I would have a heart attack. No one thinks about that. I'm 55 years old," he continues.
After surgery, Randy immediately jumped on the opportunity to join a 12 week program at Baptist Health's Cardiac Rehab Facility.
Randy is learning various exercise routines and how to eat heart healthy, because he knows it is best for his health.
"It has been. I've lost 33 pounds since Thanksgiving and I've gotten a lot healthier. I feel great," he adds.
Other patients in the program's gym are also there by choice. They like working one on one with health professionals who can monitor their heart.
"We communicate with our physicians every 30 days so that they know exactly what we're doing, exactly what their patients are doing and we communicate with them to see if there are any blood pressure issues or other health concerns," explains Matthew Stripling, Program Leader at Cardiac Rehab.
He encourages heart patients to get into cardiac rehab, because often, those who don't end up back in the hospital.
"The National Standards are like you have a 42 -percent chance of not having another event if you complete the program and really make those changes," he says.
We asked Randy "Do you think you would've seen the same results had you done this on your own?," No, he replied. "No. No. They push me and I would've been afraid to work out like this without having medical professionals close by."
But the weight of that fear has been put to rest. Randy has never felt better and confident about his health and plans to keep this up, even after he completes his sessions.
Once you graduate from the program, you can sign up for a regular membership and still get the guidance from health professionals.