Having a high stress job can take a toll on anyone’s heart health. For Bruce Aldrich, a successful business man, the chances of suffering a heart attack significantly increased, as he continued to smoke and didn’t follow a daily exercise routine.
“I was at 100 percent blockage, and they had to put a stent in,” says Bruce. After suffering this damage to his heart, Bruce had a lot of work to do in order to retain a heart healthy lifestyle.
Bruce began his cardiac rehab at ProMedica Bixby Hospital in 2013. For several weeks, he went in four days a week for physical exercise. The staff also encouraged him to exercise carefully on his own time. Throughout the experience, Bruce was closely monitored while he walked on the treadmill and stretched — a standard routine for cardiac rehab participants. In addition to physical rehabilitation, he also attended educational classes. “They taught me exactly what it means to have a heart attack, as well as how to manage my medication,” he recalls.
But for Bruce, the most significant and helpful part of his rehab involved his mental well being.
Bruce’s heart attack was triggered by more than the typical physical reasons; his condition was connected with his stress levels and tobacco addiction. “It’s more than just the rehab sessions,” says Bruce, “It’s also psychological. They made me realize I had to manage stress, stop smoking and start taking better care of myself.”
Changing your life-long habits is no easy task. Bruce was used to feeling stressed out, and typically dealt with his stress by lighting up a cigarette. After his heart attack, Bruce knew he had to change his ways. Fortunately, the cardiac rehabilitation team at ProMedica helped him accomplish these seemingly impossible goals.
“I’m not a loner, and the staff was always with me so I didn’t feel like I was alone,” says Bruce. One of the perks of cardiac rehabilitation is that it offers a network of positive supporters. Not only do you meet other people who have experienced similar health issues, but you’re also introduced to helpful, compassionate heart experts who can help you reach your goals.
Bruce’s experience demonstrates the many different aspects of cardiac rehab. While the exercise provided a crucial step toward regaining heart function, changing Bruce’s mindset about his health will stick with him and strengthen his heart in the long run. “I’m much more optimistic than I used to be, and both my heart and mind are stronger because of it,” says Bruce. “I’m healthier than I have been in a long, long time.”