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Take Heart Articles
Taking steps to better health
Take a walk in a heart patient’s shoes. You may be surprised at just how spry and energetic these folks are, particularly those who have learned to take steps to better health at Palmetto Health Heart Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation program.

Here, exercise specialists like Amy Booth help recovering heart surgery patients make steady progress to good health through exercise. And one of the easiest forms of exercise is walking.”

“Did you know there are roughly 10,000 steps in a five-mile walk?” asks Booth. “If you count the steps you take in a day, you’d be amazed at how far you walk.”

Booth is encouraging patients to “step out” as part of their recovery routine. Patients start by exercising several days a week at the Cardiac Rehab gym at Palmetto Health Richland, where they work out with medical supervision. After several weeks, the patients can continue their exercise regime at home. Many choose walking as it’s easy and doesn’t require special equipment.

In 1991, Doris Wadford had triple bypass surgery. Afterwards, she went to cardiac rehabilitation and was introduced to regular exercise for the first time in her life.

Thirteen years have passed and Wadford still attends cardiac rehab exercise

sessions three times a week. “At that time, I was too busy being a parent and a nurse to take time to exercise,” remembers Wadford, now retired. “But then I had my triple bypass surgery and I had to do it. I owe my life to those who guided me through my exercise program.”

Now a self professed exercise nut, Wadford admits there were days she wanted to quit. “Then I’d recall what my doctor said to me. ‘You can continue your lifestyle and get worse, or you can get off your duff and do something about it.’ His words have stuck with me. I knew I had to set an example for others struggling with the same condition,” she says.

Many people, heart patients and healthy folks alike, have trouble keeping up with Wadford. In addition to walking, she does weight training and aerobic exercise. At home she uses an exercise bike and elliptical step machine.

“Exercise saved my life,” says Wadford. '\Now I am more diet conscious and active. I love to exercise.”

The benefits of exercise, along with a healthy diet, are numerous: lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, more energy and strength, as well as an overall decrease in the risk of heart disease.

Even Booth is inspired by Wadford’s commitment. “Doris started by taking small steps to improve her health and has succeeded in making big changes in her life,” Booth says.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve cardiovascular fitness. There are approximately 1,892 steps in a mile. Therefore 10,000 steps equals approximately five miles. This figure varies, depending on an individual’s step stride.

To calculate a step length, divide the known distance you’ve walked in feet by the number of steps you’ve taken. A quarter-mile walk is 1,320 feet long. One mile is 5,280 feet long.

Here’s to taking more steps each day!

For more information about Cardiac Rehab, call 434-6966. Referral or written permission from a physician is required.