Women's Patterns of Exercise Following Cardiac Rehabilitation

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Abstract

Background:

Studies of long-term exercise maintenance after an acute cardiac event have been conducted almost exclusively with men, and the findings cannot be generalized to women.

Objectives:

The aim of this study was to identify women's exercise patterns and adherence to recommended exercise maintenance after a cardiac rehabilitation (CR) program.

Method:

Forty women who had a myocardial infarction or had undergone coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery were recruited through convenience sampling immediately after completion of a phase II CR program. Exercise frequency, duration, and intensity were measured using wristwatch heart rate (HR) monitors during exercise for 3 months.

Results:

Results indicated that 12 of 40 (30%) women exercised five times or fewer during the 3-month study period. Only 11 women (27.5%) exercised three or more times per week. Women exercised an average of 5.2 sessions within their target HR during the entire study period. Maintenance of exercise dropped consistently during the course of the study. Although 83% of the participating women started exercising during the first month, after 1 month one third of the participants had stopped exercising. During the last week of the study, only 50% of the women were still exercising.

Conclusions:

These findings indicate the women are exercising well below the recommended guidelines for exercise after acute cardiac events.

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