This study was designed to assess and characterize the physical activity levels and patterns of participants in a hospital-based Phase III cardiac rehabilitation (CR) program.
Subjects consisted of 25 men with a history of coronary artery disease ranging in age from 39 to 69 years who were participating in a Phase III CR program. Physical activity in steps and energy expenditure were assessed for 7 days using an accelerometer (Actigraph GT1M). Comparisons were made between CR days and non-CR days. In addition, physical activity within and outside the CR session was also compared.
Subjects attended CR 3.0 ± 1.0 d/wk (mean ± SD) and averaged 6,907 ± 510 steps/d (mean ± SE) over 7 days. Physical activity levels were significantly higher on CR days versus non-CR days (10,087 ± 631 vs 5,287 ± 520 steps/d). Those who performed home exercise in addition to CR were significantly more active than CR-only exercisers (7,993 ± 604 vs 5,277 ± 623 steps/d).
These results suggest that a majority (52%) of CR participants met a minimal active goal on days they attend CR. However, only 8% reached the recommended minimum level of weekly physical activity. Those that did some form of home-exercise in addition to CR were significantly more active than the CR only exercisers. Although attending CR seems to help patients reach physical activity targets, patients should be strongly encouraged to increase their volume of physical activity either at the CR facility or at home. Activity monitors provide a practical and effective way for patients to track their physical activity levels, which may be helpful in reaching goals.