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Taking exercise to heart

Cardiac rehab programs offer advice on how to eat well, manage stress and stop smoking but the cornerstone of any successful regimen is a personalized fitness routine


Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Jean Corbeil, inactive for a year
after he suffered a heart attack,
takes part in a cardiac-rehabili-
tation program at the Atwater
Club with help from instructor
Lisa Tremblay.


For people like Jean Corbeil, a heart attack is a wake-up call. "I was working a lot of hours, travelling, getting very little exercise, and smoking," said Corbeil of his lifestyle before his heart attack two years ago. "My diet was also a problem."

Corbeil was lucky. He walked out of the hospital, albeit with the help of a pacemaker. But the heart attack left him unable to walk to the corner. Out of breath and dizzy, he was prone to fainting. Understandably, he was afraid to exercise, especially with no one by his side.

Corbeil remained inactive for a year, until a friend recommended he enrol in the Cardiac Health Improvement Program, a cardiac-rehabilitation program run out of Montreal's Atwater Club. Within a few weeks, he felt a remarkable difference in his ability to perform the simple tasks of everyday life, like walking to the corner store or doing chores around the house. Now, a month after finishing the 12-week program, he can exercise for 60 to 90 minutes nonstop. And he hasn't had a cigarette for several weeks.